Most people think Alfred Hitchcock is the master of thriller. It is true, I always be scared of his story. However, there is a person who has also generated a lot of great horror stories and almost every piece of his works was adapted to film. His name is Stephen Edwin King. Today I highly recommend a film that adapted from Stephen King’s novel of the same name——Misery. This film was produced in 1990, it’s actress Kathy Bates won the Best Actress in 63rd Oscar Award and 48th Golden Globe Awards.
This story of this film is a famous author is rescued from a car crash by a fan of his novels; however, he comes to realize that the care he is receiving is only the beginning of a nightmare of captivity and abuse. In this story, there are two main actors, nurse Annie and injured author Paul. To begin with, we thought Annie is a kind-hearted woman who wants to take care of her adoring idol. As the story progresses, we find out she is a psychopath suffering from depression and mania. So in this film, we can see three different personalities show up, manic Annie, depressed Annie and normal Annie, or say relatively normal. It is no doubt to say Annie is a complicated character, and her quite different performances could be explained by two psychologists’ theories.
In Freud’s theory, he developed a structural model of the mind comprising the entities id, ego, and superego. Id operates at an unconscious level, the goal is to satisfy basic instincts; ego develops from the id during infancy, the ego's goal is to satisfy the demands of the id in a safe a socially acceptable way; the superego operates on the morality principle and guide us to behave in a socially responsible and acceptable manner. In Misery, we can see in most cases Annie is dominated by id. She is totally addicted to the novel and protagonist Misery, imagining herself is the character. She hopes to occupy this character, but in fact, she hopes to occupy Paul. To reach this goal, her behavior is horrible but instinctive, and this is the point why the film is frightening. At the same time, her psychological problem affects her id, so we can see, if Paul doesn’t satisfy her， she will be manic and impetuous. She throws away the chair to express her disappoint for Misery’s death; she smashes the paper to Paul’s leg to express her indignation for Paul’s unreasonable requests. When it rains, the weather makes her blue, and she generates a thought to trap Paul because she has fallen in love with Paul, which causes she smashes Paul’s ankle by hammer. In addition, every time Annie does the crazy things, the low-angle shots are horrible.
Annie’s ego is expressed by her normal personality. Similarly, in order to reach the goal, relatively normal Annie buys a typewriter and decorates the house looks like a study; she feels so happy when she sees every new chapter finished, but this is a little part of her personality. However, the less part of her personality is superego, after the first time she yelled to Paul, she apologizes to him and explains sometimes people cannot stand her temper. See, she still has some virtues and she can realize her fault. Hence, we can see ego is a level to balance id and superego, but for Annie, her virtues are obviously buried because of her psychological problem.
In addition, psychologist Erik Erikson emphasized the role of culture and society and the conflicts that can take place within the ego itself, and he divided 8 stages in people’s lifetime. In this film, we don’t know too much about Annie’s past life under 18 years-old. We can predict that she may suffer somethings that form virtues to guide her to be a nurse because nurse’s function is dedication and help. But we can see how does the society (external environment) play a vital role in people’s adult stage. In the film, we know 2 important events of Annie: firstly, she had a marriage before, but her husband jumped to his death; secondly, she was sentenced to prison for killing a baby while she was a midwife. In these events, maybe the shock of bereft her spouse is connected to her depression. From age 18-40, people enter into stage 6 and solve the crisis of intimacy and isolation to generate love. Obviously, Annie’s miserable experience cannot form a happy relationship. Lacking of intimacy and commitment can lead to isolation, loneliness, and sometimes depression. She cannot form LOVE, conversely she generates a rabid and selfish emotion. Traced back to the era in the film, the story happened in 1990, it is the climax stage of the third technology revolution. On the contrary, Annie is in an isolated, oppressed situation. This is the repression of modernization. Annie suffered from the loss of her husband because her house was in remote area, she did not get good social support so that she was trapped in sadness and depression for a long time, which led to depression.
To sum up, people’s distinct experience form different personality and each psychiatric issues could be traced from their past.