BENNY & JOON tells the story of a brother and his disturbed sister, trying to cope with adult life after the death of their parents twelve years ago. The resulting anxiety leaves Benny’s sister Joon unable to handle much of reality. That is, until Sam comes along. This eccentric Buster Keaton clone speaks a language Joon can comprehend. As he reaches out to her, a story of love and compassion unfolds before us.
Beautifully photographed (lighting & composition) and interestingly filmed (viewpoints, camera angles, etc.), BENNY & JOON brings to life the small town of Deer Park, Washington. The soundtrack is quite diverse, but seems to fit the scenes nicely. Aidan Quinn is excellent as the responsible and devoted Benny. There is just enough fatigue in his face to show the burden he carries. Joon is portrayed by Mary Stuart Masterson in a convincing performance. Nearly stealing the show is Johnny Depp as the very offbeat, but highly talented and resourceful Sam. BENNY & JOON is a delightful story of love, tragedy and victory, with the only question marks being the implied sexual encounter between Joon and Sam, and a very few obscenities. However, several very positive principles are demonstrated: love, which triumphs in the end; forgiveness, exemplified when characters reconcile; friendship, when characters support each other in crisis; and lastly, the family sticks together.
(BB, Pa, L, S, V, M) Strong moral worldview in a quirky setting, with some implied sexual immorality; 4 obscenities & 1 profanity; implied fornication; no nudity; mild violence in the form of a broken lamp and a brief on-camera scene from a cheap B&W horror movie the characters were watching on video; and, gambling (pseudo serious poker game in which money is replaced with odd white-elephant type items for betting purposes).