I love this feel-good movie! It's a special treat to watch Sam, Johnny Depp's quirky, sweet and child-like character, who makes grilled cheese sandwiches with an iron and entertains at a park with his impressive Buster Keaton-like routines. He looks and acts like someone who walked in from another era, maybe even another planet. Watch Depp's facial expressions -- intense and hilarious!
There are heavy moments, such as the bus scene: When the romance between Sam and Joon (Mary Stuart Masterson) is misunderstood, forcing the pair to run away, Sam comes face to face with the reality of mental illness as Joon becomes severely agitated with the voices in her head. But he never gives up on love, finding a way to get to Joon at the mental hospital by dangling acrobatically just outside her room from a window washer's perch (my favorite scene). And yes, there's a happy ending.
I watched this movie with my husband and our children (ages 10 and 12). If you plan to watch Benny & Joon with kids, be aware that bad words are used a couple of times, and there's a romantic scene between Sam and Joon that's slightly steamy but not distasteful. Overall, though, the touching story, dialogue, and humor make this a fine movie to watch with kids over 9 years of age (younger kids would probably find it boring).
Creative story with fun characters! Some of the almost surreal scenes will replay in your mind to make you smile and even laugh out loud.