DON JON (2013)


Written & Directed By: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Cinematography By: Thomas Kloss
Editor: Lauren Zuckerman 

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Rob Brown, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Gleanne Headly, Brie Larson, Paul Ben-Victor, Italia Ricci, Sarah Dumont

Jon Martello objectifies everything in his life: his apartment, his car, his family, his church, and, of course, women. His buddies even call him Don Jon because of his ability to pull “10s” every weekend without fail. Yet even the finest flings don’t compare to the transcendent bliss he achieves alone in front of the computer watching pornography. Dissatisfied, he embarks on a journey to find a more gratifying sex life, but ends up learning larger lessons of life and love through relationships with two very different women

While this film advertises itself and starts off seeming like a light romantic comedy about a player who meets his match and how she systematically seduces him as makes him change for the better to live happily ever after he has to get over his porn addiction. Instead it leaves itself to being more I a comedic character story. That eventually morphs into a love story out of nowhere.

Though the film does go into stereotype territory at times. it ultimately redeems itself. It presents itself as rather simple and at times it exceeds at this. Then it takes so many curves that it ultimately becomes a layered story.

Though the story becomes obvious and turns into Moreno a conventional tale. Of how he changes for the better by opening himself up from his routine and embracing more things he is unaccustomed to.

Just like finding love with someone he least suspects as she is far from a dime but personally, emotionally he is perfect with. It also gives an analogy of how younger people are growing up with a knowledge and fascination of sex through porn which gives more of a heightened fantasy version of the act and that more and more people feel of it’s not like that it doesn’t count and when they do have sex and it’s not as good as what they see in these films they go through the motions by can only truly be relieved by the fantasy. Which leads to a disconnect. As i mentioned earlier when it comes to meeting the right person it’s the same way.

Joseph Gordon levity makes his directorial debut and he is good. Though he could have cast someone else who would have made the character seem more natural to the performer. (Channing Tatum, Mark Wahlberg. Though it is no surprise to learn he considered casting Tatum in the lead instead, before deciding to take on the role himself) He played the role himself though it can be tough to direct and act at the same time especially for the first time and make yourself the lead. Here playing the role it shows his range and versatility. Truly challenging himself.

Actually, The film has it’s limitations, while trying to show and burst out of what could have been a typical romantic comedy and becomes a sort of overlapping love triangle. It skimps more on the supporting actors and their roles playing more one dimensional and comic relief roles than anything else.

Tony Danza is a particular standout and hilarious in his big screen role as Don’s father

Scarlett Johansson is also good in more of a seductress role. She is the femme fatale of the film and has never looked more luscious or hot. Though at times her character is a little more the ridiculous and plays more of a strereotypical role. She turns the dial up and makes herself unforgettable In the role. Especially as Levitt Wrote the role specifically for her.

I did really enjoy the little stuff, such as him describing what he likes and doesn’t about girls, his doing his penance for his weekly sins while Doing his working out. How he keeps up a routine every day and week, how every club it seems like they go to looks exactly the same though supposedly different locations. (That May have been coincidental) the representation of opening up is actually leaving his neighborhood and borough to Manhattan. How just as he believes sex fantasies from porn. She believes love and Romance fantasies from Hollywood films. How they both don’t really know if they love each other or more lust and they are the ideal version of why they think each other wants.

The film is more of an adult sex comedy generally with some substance and rarely exploitive. It’s truly a adult coming of age film. The portrait of a young man frowning up and learning to open up. While examining how sometimes love is taught to us through entertainment and we take it so seriously. That we end up playing characters instead of where we really are as we are shaped by what we see to value. Rather than just what we enjoy and makes us happy. Because of that it can give us a complex and lead to dysfunction in us and in our relationships, Though obviously this film isn’t for kids and should raise a few discussions after watching it.

While the film does look to be deeper the. Most romantic comedies. The breakdown comes out of nowhere. Which I feel will disappoint the audience coming into this film looking for one type of movie that was advertised and getting something totally different. Though hopefully for those who stay for the whole film they will take it’s meaning and examine films and maybe their own relationships deeper and in a different way. Ultimately I can see how this will disappoint most audiences expecting the usual fare as almost from the beginning it goes sideways and shows that it is interested in something more and breaking down relationships. Though I give the film kudos for taking on a topical subject, such as men’s reliance on porn and women using romantic films in much the same way. Fantasy fulfillment and what we guide our expectations on, though rarely if ever meet.

The film’s original title, as advertised when it was shown at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals, was “Don Jon’s Addiction”. Joseph Gordon-Levitt subsequently decided to change it because he felt that title put too much emphasis on the pornography storyline.

Most of the porn scenes feature porn star Alexis Texas.

The original cut, which was screened at Sundance in 2013, was given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA. Director Joseph Gordon-Levitt cut some graphic porn footage that his character is watching throughout the movie from the final cut, which received an R rating. He chose to cut some of this footage since he didn’t want people to think this movie was solely about porn after being confronted with sexually graphic footage.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt seems to enjoy this and you can see why. It allows him to have a certain range and play a character he would never have gotten a chance to play himself and he gets to make a subversive film. That proves to be deeper the. At first thought or shown to be. Which allows it and him the need it of the doubt of appearing deeper. The Film has Perception, Funny enough, Turns dark off and on when it has more of a light mood going for it

It also lets the film showcase and play two different kinds of relationships superficial and the more emotional connected.

It allows itself to be both deep and shallow as there are sex scenes that are rather graphic. So that a certain percent of the audience gets what they want in the form of nudity and makes for more of an adult movie. Like there used to be not so much the popcorn romantic movies where it barely goes beyond a PG-13 and the only thing graphic is the kissing and fades until the motioning after.

Grade: B-

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