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Don Jon, directed, written and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, has taken Levitt’s reputation as the sweet boy-next-door and doused it in delicious sin. The edgy, risque film about a young New Jersey man with an addiction to porn reigns in spectacular aspects of comedy and drama.
Don Jon follows the story of the Italian-Catholic “guido” - Jon, who’s addiction to porn prevents him from engaging in intimate relationships. When we first meet Jon, his priorities are clear. He loves his family, goes to church, works out, and above all, enjoys the pleasures offered through internet porn.
Jon’s clearly a player, he’s a master of the game and successfully takes a different girl home every night - his stipulation: she must be at least an 8. Jon seems perfectly comfortable in his lifestyle, until he spots Barbara (Scarlett Johannson), who appears to be the girl he’s been waiting for.
Unlike his previous prospects, Barbara poses a challenge to Jon, before sleeping with him she wants to be courted for a month. Jon becomes smitten with Barbara and he claims he’s in love, but his adoration for porn lingers on. So much so that directly after sex, he is caught masturbating to the internet videos on his computer screen.
When Jon and Barbara’s relationship hits the rocks, he takes his obviously distorted views on relationships to his classmate Esther (Julianne Moore) who acts as a confidant of sorts to Jon. The scenes between the two characters take the otherwise comical character flaw and creates deeper meaning.
Don Jon explores the complications of a young man’s intimacy issues, while maintaining a comedic, yet daring discourse. Jon’s exploration of his sexual identity is highlighted by the editing and directing of the film. His immersion in pornography is expressed through inter-cuts between his monotonous daily life and snippets of pornography. This technique encompasses the character’s addiction by shocking the audience with the images.
The acting in Don Jon is impressive all around. Joseph Gordon Levitt’s intensity in his role redefines him as an actor, and his performance breaks him out of the quirky romance category he’s been placed in previously. Scarlett Johannson delivers an equally impressive performance, proving that strong and sexy really doesn’t go out of style, and Julianne Moore provides humor and emotional depth.
Don Jon is confident, hilarious and seriously sexy. The film is rated R, runs at 90 mins and is currently playing in theaters.
Image: Wikimedia Commons