In Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s debut as writer and director, Levitt produces a movie that is so much more than just a story. It is very difficult for me to write this review without giving away any spoilers. So, forgive me if some parts seem a little vague.
The main plot of the movie is about a man addicted to watching pornographic videos, and the ensuing struggles that go along with it.
Don Jon, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is an Italian-American guy living in Jersey. He has been watching porn religiously for most of his life. He works as a bartender, and his hobby is picking up girls. The latter, however, is negatively affected by his addiction. He has been so saturated with videos, that he compares the girls he’s having sex with to the girls in the pornos he watches. Naturally, they can’t compare. So, sex becomes just a chore to him. Although he says he enjoys it, sex has lost all luster for him.
This becomes a challenge for him when he gets into a serious relationship. No matter how much he may say he loves his girlfriend (Johansson), he can’t give up his porn.
The movie follows Don Jon through his new relationship as he struggles with his addiction.
Although the above is the main plot, there are so many underlying themes woven throughout the movie; you really have to be paying attention to catch them all.
Perhaps the most prominent to me, is the way Joseph Gordon-Levitt portrays religion.
Gordon-Levitt’s character, Don Jon, goes to mass every Sunday and confesses his sins to the priest, where he receives his number of Hail Mary’s and Our Father’s for the week. He never changes the way he lives, however. He just goes through the motions.
Which is what many people do when it comes to religion. They may say they are a professing, whatever they are, but it’s really just a title to them. They hold up all the appearances, but do not actually take the belief seriously and implement it into their everyday life. They are holy one day out of the week.
Along with the harm that pornography can inflict on a relationship, Gordon-Levitt also spends some time focusing on the effects chick-flicks can have on a relationship.
Romantic films are essentially emotional porn for females. Women build dream men in their heads based on the men in these movies. These men aren’t real, though, so it is virtually impossible to find someone to fill those shoes.
An obsession with these films and ideas can be just as detrimental to a relationship as an unhealthy addiction to porn is.
It was really difficult for me to decide what rating I was going to give this movie, but after much deliberation, I finally arrived at four chips. Acting was strong all across the board with performances by Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Glenne Headly and Tony Danza.
Don Jon was a refreshing change from the usual crap that Hollywood throws at us. It had strong dialogue and was secretly thought provoking.
Pay attention to who you take to this movie, though. It is definitely not a movie to see with your parents or on a first date. The R rating is very accurate to this film, which includes a fair amount of nudity and language.
I think Gordon-Levitt did an excellent job with it. I have high hopes for him. I can’t wait to see what he does next.