Movie Review: Don Jon
Don Jon is an everyday type of man. He has his own place in New Jersey. By day he works out at the gym and by night he’s a bartender whose charm alone can persuade any girl to come home with him. His existence epitomizes the bachelor life. Oh and one other thing: Don Jon is addicted to porn.
The film opens with quickly cut scenes of various states of nudity followed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s face in front of a laptop, doing what people normally do when watching such material.
Gordon-Levitt’s directorial and screenwriting debut takes cinematic risks, barely preventing things from becoming distastefully raunchy. Instead, it takes the comedic route with a witty script that displays the perfect amount of everyday humor, charming the audience and keeps the film down-to-earth.
When Don Jon meets Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson, “The Island”), he thinks he is in love. The two begin to date and he could not be happier with “the most beautiful woman on earth.” One night, Barbara catches him in the act of his so-called hobby, and he vows to change. He quits porn, but only lasts a day or two.
As the relationship begins to expire, he realizes his porn served as a fantasy for him, just as the romantic movies Barbara ritualistically watched served as her own addiction. Both were so absorbed by their fantasies that they idealized the relationships they would have with other people and would, consequently, never be satisfied. It isn’t until Jon grows closer to Esther (Julianne Moore, “The Kids Are Alright”), an older woman in his night class, that he begins to realize his superficiality and truly change his ways.
“Don Jon” most certainly exhibits Gordon-Levitt’s ability to write, direct and act concurrently and exceptionally. The film’s humor is so natural that the audience can easily forget that it’s watching a film with messages about pop culture and issues between men and women as well as reality and fantasy.
Creativity at its pinnacle, “Don Jon” is captivating with its assessments on real life and real love.