Benny & Joon Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
This film portrays a brother, Benny (Aidan Quinn) and sister, Joon (Mary Stuart Masterson). Joon is a “smart, pretty girl who happens to be a little unbalanced,” as written on the LaserDisc jacket, while Benny is a garage mechanic who just can’t give his sister the space she needs to experience life. Then, through an unusual poker game, Sam (Johnny Depp) moves into their home, and everything changes. Joon soon falls for the just as unusual Sam, and Benny is faced with the inevitable: His sister wants to experience life for herself.
There are many funny scenes in this movie, and it will teach you how to make grilled cheese sandwiches while doing the laundry. The problem is that after you have chuckled your way through the film, you realize that the comedy is based upon two adults with varying degrees of mental illness. Is that funny?
I’m not even sure. We all know “funny” people, but there is a difference between people that are trying to be funny, and people that just can’t help the things they do. It really is a judgement call.
What isn’t a judgement call however, is the perceived need of mentally unbalanced people to have sex. I’ve noticed this in other movies on the subject. It seems that filmmakers delight in showing the romance blossom between two adults with these problems, into an evening of exploration and new experiences. They seem to portray it with a childish sense that leaves me uncomfortable. There is no nudity here, and the depicted scene is very tame, but there is no doubt that the couple has slept together.
In a comedy, it is impossible to address the consequences of this act. A pregnancy would completely change the focus of the story, so the script just doesn’t deal with it, and they all live happily ever after. Also be warned that there is one word of sexual profanity here that is usually not allowed in a PG movie.Starring Johnny Depp, Julianne Moore, Aiden Quinn, Mary Stuart Masterson. Running time: 98 minutes. Theatrical release April 16, 1993. Updated May 4, 2009