Columbia Pictures | Release Date: November 30, 1990 CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION
Generally favorable reviews based on 23 Critic Reviews
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In a way, Misery is a ghoul comedy. But it's more than that, because it's genuinely, consistently scary. With his enthusiastic direction -- the cutting, the odd angles, the unexpected timing -- Rob Reiner takes what might have been a static set-up, a couple of people talking in a room, and makes it harrowing. [30 Nov 1990, p.E1]
It does what it desires to do - it suspensefully squeezes the sweat out of the pores - but the salty stench it leaves behind in the persona of Annie Wilkes is a residue that transcends its intentions. [30 Nov 1990]
VarietyStaff (Not Credited)
Casting of Caan is effective, as his snide remarks and grumpy attittude are backed up by a physical dimension that makes believable his inevitable fighting back. Bates had a field day with her role, creating a quirky, memorable object of hate.
Reiner's direction and William Goldman's script succeed on their own cartoonish level, and Kathy Bates, who plays the fan as if she were a close relative of Norman Bates, rips into the role with undisguised relish. [30 Nov 1990, p.24]
Rob Reiner's competent-plus wax job on William Goldman's script is keenly orchestrated manipulation. [30 Nov 1990, p.4D]
Two scenes in Misery are shockingly brutal. But many more are wickedly amusing - especially the ones stemming from the fact that no small part of the writer's torture is the way his deranged muse uses language. There's something simultaneously comical and scary about the way Bates employs euphemisms to keep the lid on. [30 Nov 1990, p.29p]
In some ways, Misery is the ultimate writer's inside joke -- the author as slave to a single, maniacal editor. This is not a great film, but it's good enough to invest the word deadline with a whole new meaning. [30 Nov 1990, p.G5]
Misery is one of the best movies made from a Stephen King story. [30 Nov 1990, p.6]
St. Louis Post-DispatchHarper Barnes
As a realistic horror movie, Misery is effective. If you like Stephen King books, you will probably like Misery. However, I kept hoping that Reiner and Goldman would do more with the material. [30 Nov 1990, p.3F]