Joseph Gordon Levitt directs his first film ‘Don Jon’, a gritty comedy about the expectations of relationships. Levitt plays womaniser Jon, who has no issue attracting female attention and never leaves a club alone. However, despite this he still claims that porn gives him more satisfaction.
“There’s only a few things I really care about in life: my body, my pad, my ride, my family, my church, my boys, my girls, my porn” The opening line of Don Jon pretty much summarises what you are going to see in this movie. Joseph Gordon Levitt plays Don Martello, essentially an arrogant bartender from New Jersey who struts around picking up girls (who must be an 8 or 9 to qualify) each time he goes out.
At first appearance, Don Jon may appear to be a shallow film about a man’s inability to lose himself in anything other than porn. However, as the film continues, Levitt raises relatable issues about modern day relationships. While it is clear that Jon has unrealistic views of sex, Jon’s love interest, Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) also has unrealistic ideals. Hooked on the idea of a rom-com ‘happily ever after’, Barbara applies pressure to Jon to fit into this ideal. Throughout the movie, we see these issues put a strain on their relationship. Both equally blinded by their own expectations, they set themselves up to fall.
I would recommend this film, but I would also highly recommend you do not watch it with your parents.
The movie itself is a ‘coming of age story’. We see Jon better himself as the movie progresses with the help of Esther (Julianne Moore) an older widow. He begins to realise that his ideals aren’t providing his life with meaning. Jon finally begins to see reality as it is, rather than as a checklist of boxes. Objectification is a key theme in the movie, Levitt himself said in a recent interview ‘media sometimes leads us to treat people more like things than people’. We see both Barbara and Jon objectify each other as means to gaining their ideals.
Despite reading some unfavourable reviews, I think Levitt does an outstanding job for his first movie. He creates something unique and different to anything we have previously seen of him. Don Jon contains serious themes, combined with some ‘laugh out loud’ moments to provide us with a thought provoking but also entertaining film. If you see this film ,‘Good Vibrations’ by Marky Mark and The Funky Beach is very likely to end up stuck in your head for days after. I would recommend this film, but I would also highly recommend you do not watch it with your parents.