Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kathy Bates in "Misery"

Kathy Bates won the Oscar for playing Annie Wilkes in Misery.

Misery overall could be a much better film - the combination of humor and horror is sometimes way too over-handed. But, had it not been for the performance of Kathy Bates, the film surely would have become very messy. The story of a writer who finds himself trapped in the house of his number one fan, a psychotic woman who lives for his writing of a fictional character, Misery. Only Stephan King could think of such a overwhelming female character.

Kathy Bates plays Annie Wilkes, the crazed fan. What she establishes perfectly at first is how lovable and seemingly caring Annie is, with her truck driver looks and desperate attempt to make a connection to the author are both startling and amazing. Annie is of course always a mysterious figure, we really don't know who she really is until she has huge outbursts of anger. Bates finds the incredibly right balance of being over the top with her screaming and wide eyes.

What's even more extraordinary about the performance is how well she handles the quiet moments of despair Annie has. Like her talk with Paul at night, Bates knows exactly how to play the character without having any hidden agenda to surprise the audience with. She knows how to be malicious without being a faceless evil. She knows how to be sweet, without being totally innocent. What Kathy Bates does is create a fascinating, entertaining performance that doesn't play on the cliches that could have easily engulfed her. It's a terrific piece of work that needs no spirit to help it along.


joe burns said...

She's good, but goes over the top, and the whole thing feels over-cooked and leaves a bad aftertaste for me.

She'll probably be the winner though.

Louis Morgan said...

She is terrific, her over the top moments really were requirements for the part, and she excels with them without making seem too too much. Also her quiet moments, are amazing as well.

dinasztie said...

Oh yeah, I most certainly agree. Chilling.

What do you think about the "hobbling" scene? :D

Fritz said...

She's a little too much for me but I still enjoy her work very much.