Longing for a romantic Hollywood film that will make your heart leap but not have you reaching for the sick bucket? Try Benny & Joon
. Few mainstream US films manage to walk the thin line between emotion and schmaltz, but here is one film that pulls it off admirably. In the wrong hands the concept of marrying love and mental illness could have been a disaster but, as with the low-budget British film Some Voices
, Benny & Joon
manages to extract genuine humour and warmth from the subject. As the brother and sister of the title, the relationship between Aidan Quinn and Mary Stuart Masterson is central to the story, Benny desperately trying to keep home and job together while looking after the sick Joon. Their lives take an unexpected turn with the arrival of Sam, a brilliantly comic turn by Johnny Depp, as gradually the characters learn that the happiness that all thought beyond them is within their grasp. Depp adds yet another character to his liturgy of slightly odd outsiders but plays it with such panache, this time drawing heavily on Buster Keaton, that you cannot help but fall for him. Indeed, there is not a single character here that you would not wish well.
On the DVD: The usual scene selection and a very clear audio track, given the film's musical moments a huge boost. Few will probably be able to resist The Proclaimers' "(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles" which opens the film. Excellent picture quality too. --Phil Udell
Depp/Masterson/Quinn/Moore/Pla ~ Benny & Joon