Movie Review: “Don Jon”

“Don Jon” is not a movie that you want to see with your parents – or anyone, if you can help it – but that’s not to say that you shouldn’t see it at all. This film has a lot of sex, a lot of graphic pornography and a lot of nudity. And, while unnecessarily vulgar and crude at times, “Don Jon” is ultimately a ton of fun and carries a powerful and important message for young people of both sexes.

Jon Martello, played by the wonderfully nerdy and charming Joseph Gordon- Levitt, is the antithesis of the actor. A New Jersey twenty-something-year-old, Jon “only cares about a few things in life”: his body, his pad, his ride, his family, his church, his boys, his girls and most importantly, his porn. He gains the nickname “Don Jon” because of his unfailing ability to “pull 10’s” every weekend, leading to a meaningless sex life only fulfilled by his addiction to pornography. After constant pestering from his mother and dissatisfaction with his weekly conquests, Jon begins searching for a deeper connection with a woman and meets Barbara, played by Scarlett Johansson. While Barbara seems like the perfect woman, she has an addiction of her own: horribly cheesy romantic movies, leading to a huge disconnect in the couple’s relationship.

Like many others, I fell in love with Joseph Gordon Levitt after seeing “(500) Days of Summer” and was thrilled to hear about his writing and directing debut. I did feel like I was watching “Jersey Shore” at times, but by the end of the film I was quite impressed by its creativity and profundity. On top of this, Gordon-Levitt’s character is skillfully crafted and lovable in an inexplicable way, showing a different side of “the a-hole guy” that most women despise.

While lighthearted and funny, “Don Jon” also exemplifies the dichotomy between young men and women’s unrealistic expectations of each other. Porn and our society have influenced the expectation that women are sexual objects with perfect bodies and openness to anything. This fantasy leads to Jon’s dissatisfaction with the reality of intimacy, as well as his lack of respect for women and relationships.

Women on the other hand, have widely been raised to believe in “Prince Charming” or the sweet and sensitive man that will sacrifice anything and everything for his woman’s desires, as exemplified by Barbara’s obsession with chick flicks: the female version of pornography. While this is a large generalization and by no means true for everyone, there is no doubt that overly-sexualized images of nearly naked women in Carl’s Jr. commercials, misogynistic songs such as “Blurred Lines” and promiscuous pop stars like Miley Cyrus have infected our everyday lives.

Don Jon not only recognizes this truth, but also does so with fun characters, an interesting story and a satisfying conclusion. It’s certainly not fun for the whole family, but it is definitely thought-provoking film for our generation.

Contact Nicole Fasola at [email protected].