In Spokane, Washington, Juniper Pearl - Joon to those that know her - is an artist. She is also a mentally challenged young woman who requires around the clock care, as she could cause harm to herself or others. Her brother Benny Pearl, who owns and operates a garage and who is her only living relative since their parents died twelve years ago in a car accident, has made the decision that she would live at home with him, in the process sacrificing being able to have a personal life of his own. He has hired full-time housekeepers to provide that care when he isn't around. However, he has exhausted the list of housekeepers, who keep quitting because Joon is too much to handle. As such, Benny makes the decision that perhaps it would be best for all concerned if Joon were to live in a group home, something he is hesitating telling her for fear of her reaction. Into their lives comes Sam, the eccentric cousin of Benny's friend Mike, Sam who they obtained from Mike in a losing hand of poker... Written by
When Sam and Joon are on the bus, in one shot Sam has his arm on his cane, but the next shot his arm is around Joon. See more »
So we're planning our next vacation, right? I want Australia, she wants Italy. I like snorkeling, she likes garlic. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, she says to me: Do I need her? Jesus, Benny. What kind of a question is that? I mean, "need?" What does it really mean to need someone?
Benny, fuel line!
[and the phone begins ringing]
Hey Waldo, could you answer that phone?
I need a check, Benny. COD.
In a minute. Meet me in the office.
[...] See more »
I first saw this movie with almost no expectations. Now I own it and have watched it more times than I can remember.
I have heard that this movie caught a lot of flak about not being "realistic" about mental illness, and not providing a diagnosis for Joon, etc. I think that it is more realistic for the "average" person with a mental illness than any other movie I have seen on the topic. There was no theme of "being institutionalised forever" and there was no unrealistic expectation of a "cure".
The character of Sam put it best when he said "Aside from being a little mentally ill, she's pretty normal." I think that's the best quote I've heard in a movie, on that particular topic.
I also think there is a reason for there being no stated diagnosis of Joon. She personifies those of us who can't get on with the things we want to do in life because of a mental illness and treatment getting in the way. She does it very well, down to the mannerisms. If she were to be labeled, say, obsessive-compulsive, or post-traumatic stress disorder, or schizophrenic, or bipolar, then the universality would be taken out of it and it would suddenly only apply to people with one certain label.
This movie did wonders for my family. Upon watching it, we all said "That's us!" and learned to laugh at ourselves and the situations we got into. It offered me a lot of hope -- what more could I want than to find an understanding and eccentric friend to love and move into my own apartment, away from the mess of hospitals and doctors? It still makes me laugh every time I see it, and "Joon" has become a household word... I recommend this to anyone, particularly anyone with a mental illness, and their families -- it might lighten things up, but it certainly doesn't skip over the bad parts.
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