Movie review: Don Jon
4 out of 5 stars
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 21:09
Warning: “Don Jon” includes real pornography throughout the entirety of the film. Yes, I said it — real pornography.
Moving on, I’ll give you full disclosure. I’d consider myself a pretty huge Joseph Gordon-Levitt fan. So when I initially heard that he had written, directed and starred in a porn-centric film, I was willing to put my skepticism aside (and that preview was just giving off such “good vibrations”).
“Don Jon” is the story of Jon Martello (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who is passionate about his body, his pad, his ride, his family, his church and his porn. As a result of Jon’s obsession with porn, he develops unrealistic expectations of sex—to the point where sleeping with a real woman is no longer cutting it. But when he meets Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson), Jon starts to think he has found his perfect dime (that’s a 10 for all of you out there who aren’t fluent in Guido), who might finally provide him with the sexual fulfillment he’s been seeking.
Barbara proceeds to tease Jon into waiting to consummate their relationship by forcing him to meet her friends, introduce her to his family and enroll in a night class. However, even after the chase, sex with Sugarman fails to satisfy. When he retreats back to his trusty porn, Barbara catches him and asks him to swear that he’ll never watch it again. But what’s a porn addict to do?
Jon resorts to watching covertly, and at his night class, he meets Esther (Julianne Moore), who catches him watching porn on his phone. As the relationship between Esther and Jon develops, she forces him to reevaluate what he wants out of sex.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt shines in this film, and while he could have easily taken his portrayal of a stereotypical Guido over the top, he manages to keep his character relatable throughout the film with fresh humor and a touching epiphany at the film’s conclusion.
After a quick 90 minutes, I left the theater genuinely contemplating this film’s message. While “Don Jon” is a commentary on the millennial generation’s cavalier treatment of sex, the film is not judgmental. Rather, Gordon-Levitt broaches the subject with sensitivity, accuracy, humor and heart. This movie is unlike anything I have ever seen before and feels really relevant to today. While I might caution someone who is uncomfortable with seeing naked breasts every 15 or so minutes against seeing this movie, “Don Jon” has a fresh perspective to offer anyone who is willing to approach this film with an open mind.