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Benny & Joon (1993)

Salt-of-the-earth mechanic Benny (Aidan Quinn) has devoted his life to taking care of his younger sister “Joon” (Mary Stuart Masterson) – short for Juniper – who is very bright but suffering from an unspecified mental disorder (apparently a form of schizophrenia).

When their part-time housekeeper leaves, they acquire an eccentric replacement, Sam (Johnny Depp) – a dyslexic lost soul with a love of silent comedy – when brother Benny loses a poker bet.

Sam perches in trees, recites lines from obscure B Movies, and keeps house for the Pearls in his own silent and sweet fashion – making grilled cheese sandwiches on the ironing board and mashing potatoes with a tennis racket.

Meanwhile, Benny is staving off the advances of a former horror movie starlet named Ruthie (Julianne Moore) who has run away from the Hollywood fleshpots to become a waitress in the Pacific Northwest.

You’ll either find this so-so romantic fable a whimsical joy or annoyingly eccentric, as beguiling spaniel-eyed man-child Depp woos mentally unstable Masterson, much to her overprotective brother’s concern.

Depp’s silent movie skills – much in evidence because his character is besotted with Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin – are truly remarkable.

Sam
Johnny Depp
Juniper ‘Joon’ Pearl
Mary Stuart Masterson
Benjamin ‘Benny’ Pearl
Aidan Quinn
Ruthie
Julianne Moore
Eric
Oliver Platt
Dr Garvey
C.C.H. Pounder
Thomas
Dan Hedaya
Mike
Joe Grifasi
Randy Burch
William H. Macy
Claudia
Liane Curtis
Mrs Smail
Eileen Ryan
Waldo
Waldo Larson

Director
Jeremiah Chechik

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