Texas Art & Film's Dr. Donna Copeland's Film Reviews & Features
 
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    Don Jon is a finely written and produced film by Joseph Gordon Levitt that explores porn addiction in a macho man who has trouble getting outside himself to see another person's point of view.  Don Jon (Levitt) objectifies everything in his life--women, his body, his car, even his church.  He is highly disciplined in his work-outs, his schedule, and driving, and when anything/anybody gets in the way, he loses his temper.  He has become so narcissistic, he gets more out of porn sex than he does with a real woman.  And he sees no problem with this.  He is outwardly attractive--gorgeous body!--and is successful in his seductions.  Life is good.
But Don Jon is hit between the eyes--so to speak--when a blond bombshell, Barbara (Scarlett Johansson,) glides into the nightclub and holds her own with him.  He's not used to snags in his seductions, which, of course, makes her even more attractive to him.  He is intrigued (hooked) and continues to pursue her even as she delays and delays going to bed with him.  When she finally does give in, then catches him at his computer right afterwards, she only stays because he promises never to do it again (oh, sure!).  There are many funny lines in the film, and one is Barbara saying, "Movies and porn are different; they give awards to movies."
Their relationship blossoms; they meet each other's families who are pleased with their choices.  We see that Don Jon is a chip off the old block when his dad (Tony Danza) is mesmerized by Barbara.  As cracks begin to appear in the relationship, Don Jon is not bothered, only a little troubled.  One issue surrounds cleaning.  He is a neat freak and loves to clean his apartment, but Barbara, who is from a wealthy family, says, "Don't talk about vacuuming in front of me." She wants to send her maid over to his apartment; he shouldn't be doing anything so low class.
    Enter Esther (Julianne Moore), a classmate in a course Don Jon is taking.  He is completely unaware of her--even when he passes her crying in the doorway of the building--but she seems to want to be friends and corners him one day.  Her attitudes toward porn and many other things are very different from any he has heard, and despite himself, he is curious about this older woman.  This friendship will have a significant impact on him in a positive way because she has none of the oppositionality he is accustomed to in himself and others in his circle.  She has a story that pulls from him feelings he has never before experienced, and he begins to see Barbara in a different light.  The viewer should find resolution of the story in the film well done and satisfying.
    Levitt is to be congratulated on accomplishing so much in his first written/directed/produced film.  It depicts the manifestations of addiction intelligently from social and emotional standpoints and illustrates how personal relationships can be essential in overcoming its power over a person.  Levitt is outstanding in his performance, and he and Scarlett Johansson make a fine duo with good chemistry.  She also performs one of her finest and sexiest roles.  Julianne Moore's character is a perfect contrast, with her natural warmth and understanding.  All of these actors are at the top of their game. The inclusion of Don Jon's sister as glued to her cell phone and making only a couple of statements that turn out to be profound is a clever addition and well portrayed by Brie Larson.  The Tony Danza character is just who one would expect would be Don Jon's father.  He is well cast for this role.
    Not only is this movie highly entertaining, it has a great deal of substance in its portrayal of addiction.  Grade:  A

 



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