Benny & Joon

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +3 1/2

Content: -1

Benny & Joon is a delightful, humorous story of a man, Benny (Aidan Quinn), who takes care of his mentally-ill sister, Joon (Mary Stuart Masterson). Joon (short for Juniper) suffered trauma at a young age when their parents were killed in a car crash. She is artistic and very intelligent, but wanders away from home if left unattended. Benny, who owns and works at a car repair shop, is very concerned about Joon. He provides a housekeeper to watch her during the day, and rushes home after work to care for her. Due to her demands and quirky behavior, none of the housekeepers will stay for long. In a card game, Joon wins a unique prize - an overnight visit from a friend's young cousin Sam (Johnny Depp). Sam, a comic clown-like character, drifts from place to place. His short visit with Benny and Joon is extended as Sam becomes Joon's caregiver. Benny finally has some time for himself and cultivates a friendship with a waitress. Meanwhile, Sam and Joon fall in love. After an escapade with Sam, Joon ends up back in the mental hospital. The madcap adventures continue to the end. The combination of humor and warm, caring relationships give this film genuine appeal.

This refreshing story expresses a message of hope for each person, regardless of their human plight. However, there are some words of caution to be noted. Some of the humorous clown stunts are dangerous, and might be imitated by young children. Also, while her psychologist is caring and fair, Joon's mental illness seems to be exaggerated at times. Offensive language includes four crudities, four obscenities, and four profanities. As Sam and Joon fall in love, they are shown tossing around the bed, fully clothed, and sex is implied. The suggestion of premarital sex, the dangerous stunts, and objectionable language prompt us to give a minor negative rating to an otherwise fine film.

Preview Reviewer: Alice Anderson
MGM, 10000 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Few times (4) Mild 3; Moderate 1

Obscene Language: Few times (4) (f-word 1; s-word 3)

Profanity: Few times (4) Regular 3; Exclamatory 1

Violence: Few times - Mild (medics restrain patient; violence on TV screen; fall from building)

Sex: None - implied once

Nudity: Once (obscured by shower curtain)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (comment about premarital intercourse; clothed unmarried couple in bed; suggestive glances)

Drugs: Several (3) times - Alcohol drinking

Other: Card playing with betting; dangerous stunts; exaggerated portrayal of mental illness

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