Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore
Directed by: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Written By: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 30 min
Don Jon is a story told through many cycles, each ending with a Sunday visit to church to confess the weekly sins. In each cycle we learn, and then re-learn, and then re-learn again, that Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) likes his pornography. We’re also told repeatedly how Jon likes to organize his time between family, friends, the gym, girls, cleaning his place and yes again, his porn. Deeper than that though there is a decent story here about a man-child learning to become a man. His frequent porn indulgence has somewhat warped his perception of love and love making. It’s not until he meets the older woman Esther (Julianne Moore) does he begin to understand how to properly make an intimate connection to another person.
Don Jon is a decent story told with a lot of enthusiasm, but I felt with a bit more control it could have been a lot better. For example, Jon’s frequent drive angry moments throughout the film didn’t serve the story at all. The film would have been better served if those were more muted. Later in the film, when Jon’s life seems to have derailed an angry moment like that would have communicated more about his state of mind and served the film better. Joseph Gordon-Levitt wrote, directed and played the lead in this film. Each one of those jobs is challenging enough so being able to communicate as much as Don Jon did is very commendable. I hope this film does well for Joseph as I would like to see what he’s capable of producing once he has more experience behind the camera.
The characters in Don Jon are loud and energetic. Some people are like that though, and if that’s your life you are probably going to connect to this film in a way I won’t understand. I personally like things calm and quiet. If you’re like me the characters in this film will be harder to connect to.
Best viewing format:
The big screen I felt was actually a problem for this film. There are moments where titles and frames of porn are flashed by so quickly and brightly you’ll find yourself squinting a little. I think a matinee showing will work if you don’t want to wait for a HD showing at home.
Best element for me:
The scenes with Julianne Moore and Joseph Gordon-Levitt worked the best for me. They also represent the quieter more controlled moments in the film.