Jon Martello (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a strong, handsome, good old-fashioned guy. His buddies call him Don Jon due to his ability to "pull" a different woman every weekend, but even the finest fling doesn't compare to the bliss he finds alone in front of the computer watching pornography. Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson) is a bright, beautiful, good old-fashioned girl. Raised on romantic Hollywood movies, she's determined to find her Prince Charming and ride off into the sunset. Wrestling with good old-fashioned expectations of the opposite sex, Jon and Barbara struggle against a media culture full of false fantasies to try and find true intimacy in this unexpected comedy written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The one major problem with this film is that the director cast himself as the lead character. This creates a severe conflict of interest where not only is he in a position where it is difficult to assess his own performance, but most importantly for a film like this one, it looks like he is just making his fantasies with Scarlett Johansson come true.
Not sure how he got Scarlett Johansson to agree to this deal, with money presumably, but her acting skills are not being used to the full effect as she only seems to serve as a sexual object.
Finally, although I understand this film is about pornography addiction (partly), it is just too graphic too often.
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Reviewed by: Alain
Zero star rating
- Don Jon review by JM
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I can't think of any redeeming features of this film. It is one of perhaps only two which I have either ejected half way or skipped through the last 25%. The characters are feral, vulgar slobs and painful to watch, even worse to listen to since the script is littered with f-words in every sentence. This is social un-realism taken as art.
OK, there are other films in which one does not like the characters, but here I can't even get to the first base of empathy. The plot is paper thin and predictable - and, yes, I skipped to the end part just to make sure there was no twist worth waiting for.
The mystery is that two excellent actresses should have lent their names to this trash.
Despite all the trailers stating otherwise, Don Jon isn’t a film consumed by internet porn, it may be the films driving force storywise but at its core Don Jon is a look into the way our generation looks at love and relationships from the cynics to the romanticists, Don Jon says something about all of us.
The film follows Jon (Writer/Director Joseph Gordon-Levitt) as he meets the beautiful Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) and struggles with his addiction to watching pornography as he begins to embrace his new relationship. As he tries to make things work with Barbara he must also contend with his family and friends as well as Esther (Julianne Moore), a student in the class he is taking who he doesn’t quite understand.
Jon’s life is one of routine and Levitt makes the often repetitive tale shine through his characters complete lack of self awareness. Jon and Barbara come across as creations of our generation, two people so lost that they hide behind their obligations and obsessions to hide the fact they have no clue what they are doing.
Levitt has populated his film with a cast of misfits, further highlighting the disjointed and downright unusual nature of our world, from Tony Danza as Jon’s equally immature father Jon Senior to Brie Larson as Jon’s oddly astute sister Monica. Moore brings life to the tragic Esther while making her story brim with untold heartbreak as Jon struggles to comprehend a life outside of his own.
Ultimately the film is a search for answers and while Jon looks for them in all the wrong places, Barbara thinks she has found them in her own selfish kind of way. As the two make a go of their often disturbing relationship the audience is treated to a group of comedic performances that show the beauty of the film’s script and Levitt’s skill as a first time director. Don Jon, while a mess of a human being, is a great little start for Levitt and a damn good picture.