Whoops. I thought I was getting away from Valentine’s Day, but here I am discussing sex and love and relationships again. That being said, Don Jon does mark a departure from your typical “boy meets girl and they will then they won’t OH THEY WILL” romantic movie. Joseph Gordon-Levitt directed and stars as “Jon,” a New Jersey Lothario with a big accent and immense ego. Jon loves sex and lots of it, but he struggles to connect with women because of his obsession with porn. The movie sets up in a sort of weird combination, a low-budget passion project that also boasts two huge, sexy stars in JGL and Scarlett Johansson. The movie did well, raking in four times its budget, but its narrowness coupled with the stars’ deviation from typical Hollywood fare made for a quiet, easily forgotten film. But it shouldn’t be let go so quickly.
Should I pay to see it?
Some people may steer you away from doing so, but I’d have to disagree. Maybe we are used to see our stars dripping with sex appeal but dancing around the naughtier topics and conversations; here, JGL and Johansson show no fear, and Julianne Moore joins in the fun as well. With Brie Larson and a hilarious Tony Danza making Jon’s family shine in their dinner scenes, the movie does have some lighter moments. More importantly or prominently, however, JGL uses his directing eye and acting prowess together to offer some poignant, troubling takes on sexuality and relationships in the modern world, giving just one more way in which our world’s progress and technology inhibit profound human connections. I can understand not buying this one for keeps, and you’ll have to wait for Netflix, but be warned that Don Jon will probably never make the TBS rounds, its content made more for the premium channels’ leniencies.
Could I watch it with a date?
The two stars step outside of themselves to give an extreme yet realistic portrait of a modern relationship, but I cannot imagine it being worth 90 minutes of sitting uncomfortably next to your special friend. A lot of you guys may love Scarlett, and a lot of you girls Joseph, but keep in mind this movie will not give you the pristine images of these talents you are used to. Not only are there plenty of scenes during which you and yours won’t want to make eye contact, but also the movie will probably compel you to think a little deeper about your relationship, whether that relationship is with a live human being or with a computer. For date night, I would advise you to scroll down a couple posts, and find a good old-fashioned love story.
Could I watch it with my mom?
Do you need to see this again?
My gut reaction is an emphatic NO, but if your mom can make it through the more…graphic scenes and vulgarity, the latter half of the story delves more constantly into the aforementioned topic of modern relationships and their shortcomings. Julianne Moore’s Esther brings us back to the real world once we’ve been enveloped in Jon’s porny paradise, and from there the tone shifts heavily towards social commentary, doing so quite effectively.
All things considered, Don Jon makes for a fascinating watch and awkward conversations, though some of them need to be had.