People in relationships do have unrealistic expectations of what we want from our mate thanks to different forms of media, whether it be porn or romantic comedies. Don Jon tackles these issues in this fun movie that ends up having a lot of heart.
Jon, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is a man that loves his routines and never breaks them. He goes to church on Sundays, he works out, he goes out with the boys, takes home a woman almost every night, and then watches a ton of porn.
He admits that as much as he loves having sex, he says that it doesn’t beat porn. With porn he can get exactly what he wants and he doesn’t have to please anyone else. His addiction is to the point he will look at porn even after having sex.
One night, he meets a woman named Barbara, played by Scarlet Johansson, that he believes is a perfect 10. He tries his usual technique to try and take her home. But she doesn’t comply, and Jon might actually have to have a relationship with her before they have sex.
They get along well enough at first, but we later learn that Barbara has an addiction to romance films. Just like Jon, she has unrealistic expectations of she is looking for in a partner, such as thinking a man should do whatever his girlfriend says. So Barbara gradually tries to change Jon in various ways, including convincing him to stop cleaning for himself because she considers it unsexy and a maid’s job, and making him go to night classes even though he is already happy in his current job. Meanwhile, Jon tries to hide his porn addiction in various ways. He’ll even watch it on his phone while in class.
This film really reminds me of Shame if it were a comedy. Both of these men can’t hold down serious relationships and they have a sexual appetite that cannot be satisfied. But this film also adds the female perspective. Now, I’m sure most women are able to separate themselves from these romance films, but I’m glad it shows that some women have an unrealistic expectation because of them.
Levitt makes a really daring feature film with Don Jon, especially since some of the scenes contain real content from pornos. I can definitely see throngs of people walking out of the movie because they were expecting a fun romantic comedy. Levitt follows the romantic comedy formula that is even stated in the film, but it doesn’t end quite that way.
Levitt ends up giving a really touching performance. He starts out as a total scumbag but we as an audience began to like him even more as the film goes on. Scarlet Johansson and Julianne Moore both offer stellar performances, with Julianne Moore playing a classmate of Jon’s.
I enjoyed this film. It’s not perfect, but damn is it fun. Joseph Gordon-Levitt knows how to make a good film, and this proves it. I’ll warn people once again that this film has very explicit content, so I don’t think this would be a great date movie unless you’re into that sort of thing. However, this movie does a fine job of taking both men and women to task and commenting on how we have warped senses of relationships and what they should be. It’s a great exercise in deconstructing the romantic comedy and deviates from it just enough. I didn’t think I would get emotionally attached to the film but I did. It’s that good, and I think this film will develop into a gem that people will start to grow due to word of mouth. Levitt is on a hot streak right now with his films, and after he has now shown what a great director he is, I can’t wait to see what he comes out with next.