Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Misery

Go To

  • Award Snub: Sure, Kathy Bates deserves all the praise she received for playing the terrifying Annie Wilkes, but James Caan gives a brilliant performance too, and yet got no nominations.
  • Cry for the Devil: In addition to the movie-only Tear Jerker moment described below, there are a couple of scenes late in the novel where one almost forgets, if only for a moment, what a terrifying and terrible person Annie is. In one, Paul himself laments What Could Have Been for Annie if she were not so deeply mentally ill after she shows him an unexpected moment of kindness. In another, Annie has something of a Villainous Breakdown after the press gets wind of her latest doings and pays her a visit, and for readers who share her anxiety for crowds it's a disturbing moment of empathy with an otherwise wholly unsympathetic character.
  • Advertisement:
  • Fridge Brilliance: Paul eventually grows to consider Misery's Return the best book he's ever written. But of course it is! It's the only book he's ever literally written like his life depended on it.
  • Fridge Horror: When reading through Annie's "Memory Lane" book, Paul finds out that she was married and then divorced by her husband, with Annie's writing on the divorce page showing that she was pissed about it. There's no clipping about the ex-husband meeting a nasty death afterwards, so it seems like the poor guy got away okay. Except that much earlier on, Annie refers to herself as a "poor widow" and her MO has been shown to evolve to hiding bodies after she kills them, making it possible that she did kill him but his remains were never discovered and Paul simply didn't connect the dots.note 
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Paul is in the middle of an ongoing series when he gets in a serious car accident before finishing it. King nearly died in 1999 after being hit by a van while writing the Dark Tower series.
    • In 1991, Beverley Allitt, an English nurse, committed four murders in a children's ward. The fact that she looks a bit like Annie makes it even scarier.
    • Annie breaking Paul's legs gets even more horrifying given then—13-year-old Thad Phillip's 1995 ordeal at the hands of Joe Clark—kidnapped and held prisoner for 43 hours while Clark broke the bones in his legs. Phillips finally escaped by throwing himself down the stairs and dragging himself to a phone, by which point he was within two hours of death from internal bleeding. He survived, but needed numerous surgeries and walks with a limp to this day. note 
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Paul's Misery series is focused on a pretty but flighty young woman who is the focus of two guys who do all the cool stuff. The series is obscenely popular. Fans, but especially middle-aged women, adore it. Critics everywhere skewer it. Almost twenty years later... Even more hilarious what with Stephen's reaction to said novels...
    • Two decades after Kathy Bates played Annie, she appeared in Midnight in Paris as Gertrude Stein, and the protagonist desperately wanting her to read his writing and hear her opinion is a plot point.
    • Paul continually tries to expand his writing work, only to constantly get tons of complaints from fans who only want the next Misery book and can't stand the Schedule Slip caused by his taking time away from it. He'd probably get along well with a certain real writer.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Annie was already a Serial Killer, but onscreen her murder of the sheriff.
  • Narm:
    • What little we see of Fast Cars really doesn't justify Paul's pride in it, especially if (admittedly a pretty big if) Annie is at all accurate about the dialogue being a constant Cluster F-Bomb. Possibly justified, as he ends up deciding it wasn't as good as he thought.
    • Annie's choice of words such as "cock-a-doodie" and "dirty bird". No way can she be taken seriously like that.
  • Nausea Fuel:
    • At one point Annie crushes a rat to death with her bare hand, poking her fingers into its body in the process. And then she licks her fingers. Paul wasn't the only one that felt ill.
    • Annie forces Paul to wash down his Novril with dirty rinse-water as punishment after he makes her mad.
    • Two words: "Special candle."
    • Five words: "And now I must cauterize."
    • Annie leaves Paul alone and locked in his room for over two days. Paul resorts to drinking his own urine because he's so thirsty.
  • No Yay: Annie Wilkes and Paul Sheldon, especially in the book. She's an ex-nurse Loony Fan of the disillusioned writer who saved him from a car crash and slowly nurses him back to health. It's eventually revealed that Annie has killed several of her patients, and her mood constantly swings between cheerful and psychotic. It culminates with Annie amputating Paul's leg.
    Annie Wilkes: I'm your number one fan...
  • Signature Scene: Annie breaking both of Paul's ankles with a sledgehammer in the film.
  • Tear Jerker: The movie has a scene in which a depressed Annie opens up to Paul about her fear of him abandoning her. It's an unexpectedly humanizing moment for Annie, and both Kathy Bates and James Caan act it perfectly. Unfortunately, it quickly turns to Nightmare Fuel.
  • The Woobie: Paul. The whole story is basically about him stuck in Hell!


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: