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 Post subject: B&J Question #3--Joon and Her Journey
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:20 pm 
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BENNY & JOON Question #3—Joon and Her Journey

Let’s talk about the character of Joon and Mary Stuart Masterson’s performance.


We have discussed Joon’s illness in a previous question, but there are other aspects to her character—for example, her creativity, her generous impulses, and her capacity for growth. However, when we first meet Joon, we see much more of her negative traits than her positive ones, as she drives Mrs. Smail away and interrupts Benny at work.

So here are some questions to ponder:


** At what point in the film did you begin to truly like and care about Joon? Did it happen right away, or did she win you over gradually?



** What do you think of Mary Stuart Masterson’s performance as Joon? What do you find most memorable about her work?



**Do you have a favorite Joon scene?


In 1993, critics were divided about the effectiveness of Johnny Depp and Mary Stuart Masterson as a screen couple. James Berardinelli wrote, “This is certainly not one of the great screen romances--Depp and Masterson rarely connect in a meaningful way,” while others agreed with Emmanuel Levy, who wrote, “Depp and Masterson’s screen chemistry sparkles.”

**What did you think of their chemistry? Did it work for you?



Feel free to respond to any or all of the above! We'd love to hear your ideas.

:goodvibes: :heart2:

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:31 pm 
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I think I warmed up to Joon when she pointed out to Benny that he needed her to be ill. This showed to me that she was more aware of what was going on around here to a greater extent than those around her were willing to admit.

I never really saw the chemistry between her and Sam. It seem more like two lost souls who recognized they had something in common.

Her performance in the breakdown on the bus was excellent. I think the director mentioned in the commentary on the dvd that she was so into the scene that later she could not remember having played that scene.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:13 pm 
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** At what point in the film did you begin to truly like and care about Joon? Did it happen right away, or did she win you over gradually?

I always found Joon to be a likable character.

** What do you think of Mary Stuart Masterson’s performance as Joon? What do you find most memorable about her work?

I think she did a wonderful performance. It's not spot-on accurate IMO, but to fit the story and come off with her disability, she did great.

**Do you have a favorite Joon scene?

I love when she brings Sam into her artistic world. Joon is so used to having to fit in to the "normal" world that she relishes the opportunity to teach Sam to spell with paint. 2 things she does really well. I always think of the joy that probably filled her soul with; being 'the one who knew more and/or better' for a change.

**What did you think of their chemistry? Did it work for you?

I thought they played well off each other. Neither one out shined the other. Their roles were evenly melded and believable.



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:17 am 
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I thought MSM was wonderful in the role of Joon! (whatever happened to MSM anyway?) I thought she really held her own with Johnny and with Aiden Quinn - two guys who could have easily stolen the show just with their heart-stopping eyesballs!

But Joon's facial expressions were incredible too - they were more subtle than Sam's but managed to convey a ton of information. Her half smile or slightly raised eyebrow spoke volumes about her sense of humor and intelligence, IMO. When she came out of the hospital and saw Sam there in the wheelchair, her look was such a great combination of arch humor and bubbling happiness. You could tell she and Sam were clearly on the same wave length.

So I thought there was good chemistry between MSM and JD. They seemed effortless together, and sincere, and very sweet.



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:11 am 
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I think I liked her the moment I first encountered her in the film.

As to Mary Stuart Mastersons performance, well I think its superb. And there is one scene that I feel everytime I see it that she does so well but I can't recall what it is as I haven't watched it for a while maybe I'll try today and come back to this question then.

I think she does a really good job of showing innocent wonder, or maybe not innocent, but she shows so well with expression how she feels about the things Sam does.

Chemistry is a difficult thing ,some have it some don't, maybe they don't because of the characters and the way they behave and come together but they seem to have a rapore an understanding rather than chemistry as such.

I found out which scene it was it was just after Benny threw Sam out and confronts Joon with the brochure for the home. I just thought it was a wonderful peice of acting from Mary Stuart Masterson.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 1:14 pm 
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shadowydog wrote:
I think I warmed up to Joon when she pointed out to Benny that he needed her to be ill. This showed to me that she was more aware of what was going on around here to a greater extent than those around her were willing to admit.



That's certainly a very insightful moment on Joon's part, isn't it? It has the ring of truth. Benny didn't seem to expect that Joon would ever change, or that their relationship would ever change; he is holding her back and holding himself back as well.


shadowydog wrote:
I never really saw the chemistry between her and Sam. It seem more like two lost souls who recognized they had something in common.


Hmm . . . I see what you're saying, and several critics agree with you. What I see is a fascination (they experience each other as so "different") that grows into a sexual attraction. At some point the different-and-fascinating grows into the beloved. They stop watching each other because of reasons like "What is he/she doing? I've never seen that before" and watch just because they love to look at each other.

Whether that love translates as "chemistry," though--that physical tingle down the spine--is an individual matter.


shadowydog wrote:
Her performance in the breakdown on the bus was excellent. I think the director mentioned in the commentary on the dvd that she was so into the scene that later she could not remember having played that scene.


I had forgotten that--thanks for mentioning it. Mary Stuart Masterson is harrowing in the bus breakdown scene, isn't she? The first time you see it, you get more and more frightened as she gets more and more out of control and no one can calm her. When you see the ambulance arrive, you are relieved and feel it's completely necessary, but it throws Joon's whole future into doubt.

Thanks for sharing your ideas!

:goodvibes: :heart2:

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 1:23 pm 
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There were some parts in the film I thought she couldv'e gone a bit deeper with, but overall she did well with the character and I think Johnny and her had a special unique chemistry on screen which made the film more enjoyable.



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:23 pm 
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** At what point in the film did you begin to truly like and care about Joon? Did it happen right away, or did she win you over gradually?

She had me right away. At the very beginning of the film, I loved watching her paint with such freedom & abandon, without worrying about how the piece would turn out. Just pure creativity, without putting limits on herself! I could learn something from that.

**Do you have a favorite Joon scene?

The breakdown on the bus is so intense, but since that's been mentioned I'll pick another. I like the scene of Benny & Joon in her bedroom, where they sing together. I think it shows a realistic connection between brother & sister, and certainly between siblings who have survived a tragedy together.

**What did you think of their chemistry? Did it work for you?

Yes, it did. I liked watching as the 2 of them connected, each recognizing & accepting the flawed eccentricities of the other.



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:30 pm 
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Dawn68PA wrote:
**Do you have a favorite Joon scene?

I love when she brings Sam into her artistic world. Joon is so used to having to fit in to the "normal" world that she relishes the opportunity to teach Sam to spell with paint. 2 things she does really well. I always think of the joy that probably filled her soul with; being 'the one who knew more and/or better' for a change.


That's a lovely scene--thanks for mentioning it. I think you're right about Joon finding joy in being in the position to teach and share for a change, instead of always being the one being given the instructions. I see some of the same quality earlier in the film, when she asserts that she knows how to play poker and wants a place at the table with the guys. She doesn't want to be overlooked or belittled, and when she has a chance to share her expertise, whether it's her painting or making something in the blender, she glows.

Thinking about those scenes, I begin to understand why her doctor would say a part-time job would be so good for her. Joon needs to feel competent, and she thrives when she's in situations where she can demonstrate her abilities.


Dawn68PA wrote:
**What did you think of their chemistry? Did it work for you?

I thought they played well off each other. Neither one out shined the other. Their roles were evenly melded and believable.


Good point. The actors both seemed to favor the same approach to displaying their characters' feelings and sensual discoveries, too. They presented Joon and Sam as innocent and tentative and gentle and respectful of each other--well-suited. If either one of them had been too aggressive, it would have frightened the other and ruined the moments. Instead, you felt they were very lucky to find each other.

Thanks for sharing your ideas!

:goodvibes: :heart2:

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 8:31 pm 
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** At what point in the film did you begin to truly like and care about Joon? Did it happen right away, or did she win you over gradually?
I liked Joon from the get go in the film, as soon as she made it clear she was smart, but when I saw her in the football helmet that cinched it. I would have thought it was for safety because her parents died in an accident as someone mentioned until I saw her in the swimming goggles making her blender breakfast.

** What do you think of Mary Stuart Masterson’s performance as Joon? What do you find most memorable about her work? I thought she made Joon come to life. She made her bright, intelligent, paranoid, patronizing, flipant, sarcastic, dangerously scary, innocent, talented, serious, needy, and all the while you could see her falling in love with Sam.

**Do you have a favorite Joon scene?
I loved the scene after they tell Benny they are a couple and Joon and Benny have their fight over throwing Sam out... When she says I want him and I am not crazy! Her performance on the bus was great too when she realized she couldn't control herself.


Parlez said (whatever happened to MSM anyway?) I remember her in "Fried Green Tomatoes". She was pretty good in that one too.


**What did you think of their chemistry? Did it work for you? Her chemistry with Johnny was great. They were opposites and very much alike in their feeling different from the rest of the world.. They both compensated for the others inadequacies..



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:09 pm 
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** At what point in the film did you begin to truly like and care about Joon? Did it happen right away, or did she win you over gradually?

I liked her instantly, probably before I saw her on screen, actually. I liked that she had her name in the title, which gave me high hopes for her part. I also liked her response to the housekeeper's, "Don't you dare, Joon" when she promptly does, and throws something at her, before we see her on screen. I liked her intelligence, spirit, wit, combined with vulnerability. I started to care about her, I think, in a very short scene early in the film after she has been outside in the snorkel and challenged by the policeman. In the scene that follows that where she next appears (where she's painting and Benny gives her the medication) she doesn't say anything, but she looks a little sad and defeated to me. That got to me.

** What do you think of Mary Stuart Masterson’s performance as Joon? What do you find most memorable about her work?

I liked it. She is one of my favourite actresses to have worked opposite Johnny. She has an expressive face, which is very changeable. For example, when she walks out to Sam after laving the hospital, that smile comes and goes. She'a a little apprehensive at first there.
She presents Joon as quite childlike at times. Some of that is down to the costumes, I think, but there is also the way she sits, with her legs drawn up. But there's a woman bursting to get out of her. With regard to the point about her having potential for responsibilty her life seems to be so restricted. When Benny says she paints, reads and lights fires, I begin to feel some sympathy with that! She can't get out much if she is not supposed to leave the house on her own. The scene where she returns home with Ruth and the fish is lovely. She is kind to Ruth, giving her a compliment about looking pretty and so excited about having runs errands.

**Do you have a favorite Joon scene?
Too many to mention, really. I like the ones that have been chosen already. But an interesting one for me is the one where she draws him while he is asleep. Her way of making sense of him I guess, and it's clear he's had her full attention but as soon as he stirs, she hides the work away, hardly taking her eyes off him the while, and scurries away.

**What did you think of their chemistry? Did it work for you?
Yes it did. I think I agree with your point about the fascination that grows into attraction and love. I also think that they are both ready for that. But the love scenes were convincing to me.



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:15 am 
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** At what point in the film did you begin to truly like and care about Joon? Did it happen right away, or did she win you over gradually?

I think I always liked her. The things she did weren't the greatest and it did make it hard to find her character likable but I think in the end her character is one of those that you don't necessarily approve of what they do but you still care for her.

** What do you think of Mary Stuart Masterson’s performance as Joon? What do you find most memorable about her work?

I think she really captured Joon. It too easy when playing a mentally challenged character, for an actor to slip into the stereotype of what the general public recognizes as mentally challenged. But she steers clear from most of these. I did however think she slipped into what I guess could be considered "normal" characterization during the hat scene in the park. The look she gives Sam, just seemed a little un-Joon-like to me.

**Do you have a favorite Joon scene?
My favorite Joon scene has to be the bus scene. It's not an abrupt kind of scene. It's gradual. Slowly we see her start to unravel. The rocking in place, the talking to herself until finally it's blown up into a full on episode.

**What did you think of their chemistry? Did it work for you?
I think at certain times their chemistry was a little off. But then I took Sam and Joon's relationship to be that of a first love kind of thing. It's always ackward with you first. You're experiencing all these new feelings and what they mean and sometimes you get lost when it comes to what to do. However I have to say the chemistry is spot on during that first kiss. Oh I absolutely loved it!



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:20 am 
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Parlez wrote:
I thought MSM was wonderful in the role of Joon! (whatever happened to MSM anyway?)


She has been branching out as a producer and director (and like Johnny, says that she really doesn't enjoy watching herself on screen, although she has been acting since she was nine years old--her first movie appearance was in the original film of THE STEPFORD WIVES). She has a recurring role in the TV series LAW AND ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT, playing a psychologist, and she appears regularly on the Broadway stage.

Here's an odd coincidence: like Johnny, Mary Stuart Masterson worked as an actor for twenty years before ever taking on a role in a musical. For Mary, it was a supporting role in the Broadway revival of NINE in 2003, for which she received a Theatre World award and Tony and Drama Desk nominations for Best Supporting Actress. Here’s what she said in an interview at the time: “I just always loved to sing, but I was always too chicken. I got a wonderful singing teacher in Los Angeles, and I would sneak into his studio and work on technique and sing songs and skulk out, and that was as far as I got. That was years ago, so I finally said to my agent, 'I think I need to try the singing thing.' And they're like, 'What? You can sing? You've been working how many years and you never told anybody this?' So I auditioned and somehow ended up here [on Broadway in NINE]. I don't know how it happened. This is a move directly from my shower onto the stage, from singing in my shower to Broadway.”

Of course she does sing a little bit in BENNY & JOON, too!

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 8:20 pm 
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Gilbert's Girl wrote:
I think I liked her the moment I first encountered her in the film.

As to Mary Stuart Mastersons performance, well I think its superb. And there is one scene that I feel everytime I see it that she does so well [. . .].

I think she does a really good job of showing innocent wonder, or maybe not innocent, but she shows so well with expression how she feels about the things Sam does.


That's an interesting observation--she does show wonder and a kind of delight at the things Sam does; you can tell she's fascinated because she's never seen anything like that before. But there's nothing condescending in her look, so I see why you said "innocent"--it's childlike in that way that children can accept what's new to them without judging it. But there's also intelligence in her expression--it's never blank or out-of-touch. Joon is always thinking, always trying to expand her world.

Gilbert's Girl wrote:
I found out which scene it was it was just after Benny threw Sam out and confronts Joon with the brochure for the home. I just thought it was a wonderful peice of acting from Mary Stuart Masterson.


That is a great scene--thanks for mentioning it. You really learn a lot about both of the Pearls. After hesitating so long about even mentioning the group home to Joon, Benny gets mad and presents the issue in the worst way possible--almost as a punishment. And Joon gets mad enough to want to set fires and run away, and you understand why.

Thanks for sharing your ideas!

:goodvibes: :heart2:

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:32 pm 
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sauminaumi wrote:
There were some parts in the film I thought she couldv'e gone a bit deeper with, but overall she did well with the character and I think Johnny and her had a special unique chemistry on screen which made the film more enjoyable.


Thanks for sharing your opinion, sauminaumi! It's nice to hear from you. :wave:

:goodvibes: :heart2:

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