Misery ★★½

Eminem's "Stan" 10 years earlier, but with a woman who reads romance novels, mispronounces Dom Perignon and listens to Liberace rather than a closeted bro as the villain. MISERY was prescient about parasocial relationships and the toxic potential of fandom, but its sexist condescension has aged much worse. However, at least Kathy Bates has a character to play, and she tears into her role of the bad caregiver with real delight. (For an analysis of this trope, I recommend Miranda Corcoran's article here: diaboliquemagazine.com/i-care-a-lot-or-not-enough-bad-caregivers-in-saint-maud-2019-and-i-care-a-lot-2020/) MISERY riffs on themes from THE SHINING, but its protagonist is passive and has little personality. He spends much of the movie writing, but the process of working on a novel goes mostly unseen. To sound like Kathy Bates' character, the ending would play better if it had a sense of irony about him making a breakthrough into literary fiction.