July 1, 2022
A&E

“Don Jon” Review: Let’s Talk About Porn

by Autumn Laws

Warning: This review WILL contain spoilers. Do not read if you don’t want to know what happens.

Take Scarlett Johansson in skintight clothes and a sexified Joseph Gordon-Levitt watching porn, then spice it up with some Catholic Mass and you have “Don Jon.”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt took his first steps into writing, directing, and starring in the full-length film, “Don Jon.”

The movie follows Jon, a New Jersey native and closeted porn addict, who meets Barbara, a stone-cold fox who believes that life can be compared to romantic comedies. These two personalities initially coincide, but with time, the relationship breaks down and eventually collapses onto itself.

The problem that Jon faces throughout the entire movie is his inability to completely enjoy himself while having sex. His standards were held to porn-quality sex, and these standards were obviously never met when he was finally in the bedroom with a woman.

When Barbara, the only woman he has ever loved, finds out about his addiction, she is disgusted. Jon has a hard time understanding her reaction, and spends the rest of the movie trying to shy away from his addiction to really enjoy sex, something that he finally manages to get by the end of the movie.

“Don Jon” took a classic idea and makes it relevant. Misunderstanding between the sexes is an age-old topic that will probably never end.

What is something guys do a fair amount of that most women don’t totally understand? Watch porn.

This is what the movie centers around, but does a pretty damn good job with it, to tell the truth. When working with a topic as taboo as porn, it’s hard to take anything seriously, but Gordon-Levitt managed to transform porn from a teenaged boy’s paradise into an adult male’s guilty pleasure.

Will people still be talking about “Don Jon” 15 years from now? No, probably not, but the movie wasn’t made to be talked about 15 years from now. It used current references and situations, such as Facebook, Anne Hathaway, and PornHub, to make specific points.

Those examples may not be relevant in the future, but hey, that wasn’t really the intention in the first place.

Okay, there haven’t been any spoilers yet, but they’re coming. In the next paragraph. Seriously, stop reading if you hate spoilers.

From the previews, I had a hard time imagining that the lead character would make any serious development by the end of the movie. I was mistaken.

By the end of the movie, Jon learns to have sex with someone and lose himself completely in another person.Unfortunately, this person is the 50-something-year-old woman he takes a college night class with (yes, it’s cringe-worthy). But love is love, right?

One of the techniques Gordon-Levitt used to help illustrate a change in character was his Catholic Confessional.

Jon would measure his goodness by the number of Hail Marys or Our Fathers he would receive from his priest every week. And then he would actually perform his penance to count his reps while working out. When Jon’s numbers would go down, he considered himself as having a good week, and a bad week if his penance went up.

As with any film, I had some problems with certain aspects of the movie.

The movie used many gender roles that are modernly accepted in relationships, but don’t always translate well to any relationship. Am I worried that my boyfriend is constantly watching porn and masturbating to other women behind my back? No, not really. It has never been something I stress over, so it’s hard for me to even remotely relate to that problem. There were also some family issues that I wish were further delved into in the movie, but I’m glad it focused on mainly one conflict. It would have been a little too heavy if they added extra junk.

I’d give the movie a fair 2.5/4 stars. The movie had its flaws, and it takes balls for an actor to decide to write and direct his/her own work. Especially one in which the central conflict revolves around porn.

I think Gordon-Levitt has great deal of potential, and I would definitely see another one of his movies (even if he wasn’t starring in it). I hope to see more, honestly. I like what he has to say, and more importantly, I like the way he chooses to say it.

alaws@capital.edu

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