Don Jon Is Both Hilarious & Relatable

Naomi Parker ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff
After a hugely successful premiere at Sundance, Don Jon has generated a lot of buzz and quickly became a highly anticipated film for both critics and moviegoers. Everyone is ready to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut. Often times when a filmmaker writes, directs, and stars in their own film, it can be difficult to perfect every detail when your attention is being stretched to all three aspects, but Gordon-Levitt does not disappoint. Don Jon takes on a modern aspect of the Don Juan character, who is suffering with a porn addiction and dealing with the struggles brought forth by a serious relationship. This film is able to create a tone that is so comical yet at the same time so romantically touching.
Everything from the dialogue to technical choices, like lighting, is very well thought out. Audience members are finally getting a taste of Gordon-Levitt’s artistic style as a director and it is very refreshing to see this charming young man expand his horizons as a filmmaker.  Not only is his directing on-point, but as Hollywood has come to see, Gordon-Levitt is currently one of the most sought-after young actors on the screen. His performance as Jon Martello is stronger than ever, with his perfected style, tone, and demeanor of a womanizer through and through. Gordon-Levitt’s strong acting style is almost distracting from the other actors that grace the screen in Don Jon. With supporting actors like Scarlett Johansson and Tony Danza, the audience is fully entertained by the one-liners and dirty jokes. But it is really Julianne Moore who shines in this film, portraying a character who is so influential on Jon’s transformation as a young man. Their relationship in the movie really drives the plot and makes the audience root for this sleazy, promiscuous porn addict.
However, there are some aspects of the film that could have been approached differently. Jon’s boisterous New Jersey family might have gotten a couple laughs, but it also perpetuates many stereotypes. Gordon-Levitt’s habit of exaggeration also translates into his depiction of gender roles. Barbara (Johansson) is displayed to be a shallow minded beauty and is too selfish to care about the feelings of others, specifically Jon’s. It would have been nice to see a little more depth to characters like hers.
But at the end of the day, Don Jon also manages to touch upon relatable issues for a lot of people. Jon’s continuing struggles with addiction and what it’s like to be a “good Catholic” who is also a devoted family man and faithful partner. The relationship between Jon and his church versus Jon and his family creates an interesting idea of whether people should fight for approval from others instead of focusing on becoming happy with whom they are as a person. There is a lot that audiences can take away from Don Jon in addition to a laughter-induced stomach ache.

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