Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, TOny Danza, Brie Larson
It seems there is nothing 30 year old Joseph Gordon Levitt cannot do. Besides becoming one of the most sought after actors in Hollywood, and after his dance performance at the Oscars, Levitt has written and directed his first film titled Don Jon. It was previous titled Don Jon’s Addicted but Levitt changed the title because he didn’t like the negative association the film was getting with porn. However the film an interesting study into how porn has changed young men for the worse in their sexual behaviors. Levitt doesn’t want the focus to be on the porn aspect and he does a good job with keeping it focused on the characters. He has written some interesting female parts, one specifically for Johansson.
Jon (Levitt) loves only a few things: his apartment, his workout routine, family, car and his friends. Of course there are his women, but they change on a weekly basis, even though he asks for forgiveness every Sunday for his premarital intercourse and his masturbation. Even when Jon lands “the most beautiful girl I have ever seen”, he can’t give up his addiction to porn and the feeling of losing himself during masturbation that he can’t find with women. His relationship crumbles because of porn and while at first he results back into his old single Don Jon lifestyle, he meets Esther at a night school class who is the first person he feels like he can open up to about his situation.
While his directing skills are a bit vanilla, this is a terrific performance from Levitt who grows stronger in his skill with each role.
“All guys do it, and those who say they don’t are lying,” Jon says in defense. The stats back this statement up but Levitt chooses to explore this modern day issue in dramatic fashion putting himself right in the middle of the story. One must ask the question why this subject matter for his first film and is there something personal behind it? While his directing skills are a bit vanilla, this is a terrific performance from Levitt who grows stronger in his skill with each role.
His female characters are bimbo and mother nurturer, both played very memorably by Johnasson and Moore. While this is a real departure for Johnasson, I would have liked to have seen this subject explored more through the relationship with Moore’s character because the two have very believable yet surprising chemistry. Don Jon seems to have a message here much the way any other film about addiction does. While Levitt mostly uses irony to make his points, it’s still a suspenseful narrative because we haven’t seen this type of vulnerable male character before and Levitt should be applauded for diving into the subject matter even if the film isn’t a masterpiece.
Levitt’s directorial debut showcases strength and diversity.