wed 19/06/2024

Don Jon | reviews, news & interviews

Don Jon

Don Jon

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s take on porn addiction reaches the audience it needs to

Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meets his sort-of match with Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) in Don Jon

With his debut as a writer/director, the cute, cuddly, only-one-down-from-Gosling star Joseph Gordon-Levitt goes to bat against cold, casual sex and hits one into the mid-field for meaningful sex - even possibly older-woman sex - in Don Jon.

This drama-comedy about compulsive sex and porn addiction is an uneven, bouncy story featuring characters that are admittedly stereotypes, but a storyline that could be a little too close to the truth for many and a wonderful scenario of a well-rounded life… that is headed to failure.

Will she catch him making love to his laptop? Gordon-Levitt stars as Jon, a New Jersey greaser who is also a bartender and gym obsessive (one look at this newly pumped deltoids tells a tale). He eats with his rough-hewn family every Sunday. His father (Tony Danza, looking good in a wife-beater) and shrill frilly but caring mom (Glenne Headly) sit in judgment on him and his wastrel personal life, save for silent sister (Brie Larson, who could have been anyone in an underwritten role that should have been more pivotal). They don’t know their son loves himself – literally – more than anyone he’s ever met.

Then, as you do, he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), a beauty who knows how to run him. Will she catch him making love to his laptop? Will she find out his horrible secret? Will the priest ever give him fewer than ten Novenas if he has a week without touching himself? Perhaps. But then there’s that intriguing if daft older woman (Julianne Moore) in his night course, the course Barbara forced him to a take, who seems to understand him. Or maybe it’s just the weed they smoke together that joins them into a fug of comprehension.

With adequate production values (and cinematography that implausibly manages to make Johansson and Moore look awful), Don Jon is a surprisingly fresh take on an important subject – even more important when you consider that many young men and women learn about sex from pornography, rather than fumbling around, getting pregnant by accident and visiting clinics like the old days. Overuse of porn leads to an icy personal life: so is the moral of the story. The performances match the broad storytelling but the real pleasure here is that someone as hip as Gordon-Levitt is willing to be caring as well as daring.

Overleaf: watch the trailer for Don Jon

Don Jon is a surprisingly fresh take on an important subject


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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