Annie Wilkes, Love And Obsession

Annie Wilkes is a character with a very complex, aggressive, obsessive and bipolar personality.
Annie Wilkes, love and obsession

If we review Kathy Bates’ filmography, we will find titles like Titanic or Fried Green Tomatoes at the train stop . However, among all the great productions in which the American actress has participated, there is one name that shines in a special way: Misery must not die . Talking about this film means talking about the brilliant interpretation of Bates as Annie Wilkes, the unforgettable villain who won the Oscar for best actress.

What is so special about Annie Wilkes ? The bad guys often intrigue us, perturb us and fascinate us. The villains in general usually arouse the interest of the public and their criticisms as well. But Annie Wilkes’s charm is different.

It is a character that is so real and plausible that it gives chills. Who would expect a retired nurse who was head of the maternity ward to be hiding a ferocious character?

The perfect interpretation of Kathy Bates

Annie Wilkes is a character with a very complex, aggressive, obsessive and bipolar personality. Nonetheless, the image he projects to the world is very different from reality. The film Misery Must Not Die  (1990), directed by Rob Reiner, is an adaptation of Stephen King ‘s novel Misery . In the novel, the character’s past is explored more and sheds light on some data that have been omitted in the film version.

Kathy Bates’ work, however, is so sublime that it turns out to be the perfect embodiment of this villain. It arouses the interest of the public and keeps us in constant agony as if we were personally experiencing the tortures to which acclaimed writer Paul Sheldon is subjected. Bates’ performance has been acclaimed by audiences and critics alike and is regarded as one of the best female performances of all time. Plus, Bates was the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress in a Thriller.

If you haven’t seen the film or read King’s novel, we advise you not to continue reading this article, as we will delve into the world of the perturbed Annie.

During a big snowfall, acclaimed writer of Misery novels , Paul Sheldon, has an accident and is rescued by Annie Wilkes, who bills herself as his number one admirer. In an inhospitable place with only two characters, we enter an authentic story of terror; asphyxiating and excruciating, so is Misery not to die .

The Paul Sheldon Illusion

Wilkes is a middle-aged woman, stout and quite sober. Its appearance is of the simplest, with no large jewels or luxurious accessories. We could easily categorize her as conservative, given her appearance. She wears no makeup, her hair is simple, and the only thing that stands out in her appearance is a small gold cross hanging around her neck. This cross, so common and traditional, is an element that we have seen on countless occasions and that can give us an idea of ​​Wilkes’ personality.

However, this small element that we associate with Catholicism and therefore with the values ​​of religion, contrasts with Annie’s true personality. In turn, the small farm in which he lives makes us think of a simple and quiet person, even if a little tacky, given that it is furnished with very flashy and ancient elements, such as the collection of small porcelain figures. This decor also looks well calculated. Annie  Wilkes, in fact, is able to perceive even the smallest change, revealing an obsessive personality.

Annie Wilkes

At first Paul Sheldon believes he is in good hands. After getting into an accident, he wakes up at the home of a retired nurse who, curiously, turns out to be an admirer of his. She promises to take care of him and help him heal. He tells him that he has notified his family and the hospital, and that as soon as the roads open, he will take him to the nearest hospital.

Annie Wilkes, portrait of evil

Nothing further from reality. Gradually Annie begins to show signs of bipolarity: from a gentle and benevolent tone she moves on to hysterical, angry and aggressive attacks. It’s as if she can’t contain herself when she finds out that Paul Sheldon has decided to kill Misery Chastain in his latest novel. We also realize that this aggressive and obsessive personality seems to have always existed in women. She herself will tell an episode from her childhood in which she was deeply angry at the cinema for the inconsistency of one of her favorite characters.

The lonely Annie Wilkes seems to have a tremendously childish side, who loves to fantasize with the characters of the novels; a fangirl of her time. She had discovered Misery’s novels when she was going through a bad time and they had helped her escape. Annie Wilkes dreamed with these stories to the point of obsessing over and kidnapping the author.

Finding out that the protagonist dies in the last book, her personality becomes very cold. The small farm turns into hell for writer Paul Sheldon. And the woman brings out an evil worthy of one of the best villains ever seen in the cinema.

Annie Wilkes with knife

The exhibition of success

Unfortunately, success can be very dangerous. Being a public figure makes our intimacy the subject of debate, discussion and susceptible to criticism. A mistake, a wrong comment, an unfortunate answer or just a certain reaction can make our life hell. At the same time, there are people who become obsessed with some famous people, obsessions that can be very dangerous.

Annie Wilkes adores Paul Sheldon, she is in love with him. Not of his real person, however, but of an idealized image that he created in his head. This obsessive love, together with various mental disorders, which she evidently suffers from, lead her to kidnap and torture him. How is it possible that someone who loves a person so much can come to hurt them? Because it is not a question of true love, but of an idealized and obsessed love.

Annie Wilkes and Paul Sheldon

In the case of Annie Wilkes it is disturbing, but also very real. It is not the first time that a person has become obsessed with his idol. We can mention, for example, the murder of John Lennon at the hands of his admirer Mark David Chapman.

All this leads us to question the actual freedom of an artist. Are they really free to choose what to write? The answer is no. From the beginning we see the importance of his literary agent, his advice and how he tries to guide Sheldon towards a more commercial reading.

The loss of creativity

The author is tired of Misery, he wants to start a new adventure and maybe experiment with other genres. This choice disturbs the publishing world and its admirers who see it as an infidelity to his work. Publishing, just like in the world of cinema, is always looking for more profitable options, which appeal to the mass audience, without giving too much importance to the quality of the work or if it respects the initial idea of ​​the author.

Misery must not die shows the other side of the writer’s life. The loss of creative freedom. Annie Wilkes turns into Sheldon’s new consultant and forces him to write what she wants and how she wants it. In addition, little by little we discover that she has committed murderers and that her wickedness has always accompanied her. It is a character that is unsettling for her realism, for her dark past as a killer nurse and for her deep obsession that drives her to madness.

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