We've known for a long time that Joseph Gordon-Levitt can act. But now, with his debut on the other side of the camera in the film Don Jon, he proves he has some serious chops as a director and writer as well.
In today's cinematic world, when you hear a movie is about porn addiction, it's easy to assume it will involve a lot of gratuitous sex scenes strung together with a flimsy plot line. And although some porn does — understandably — make it into the movie, it's accompanied by dynamic writing, clever societal observations, and intriguing characters. At its base, Don Jon is about a man, played by Gordon-Levitt, who has created unrealistic expectations of how sex and relationships "should" be due to his addiction to porn. But instead of just stopping there, the film introduces Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), who, unbeknownst to her, is dealing with her own unrealistic expectations that have been imposed on her from a lifetime of watching romantic movies. She wants her partner to be a "real man" — a guy who will be the epitome of a manly man and do everything for the woman in his life. Ultimately, as we all recognize on some level, life isn't like the movies — pornographic or otherwise — so what happens to people when they want their lives and their relationships to be so much different than reality has to offer? This is the intriguing question Gordon-Levitt's film poses in a thought-provoking but not hit-you-over-the-head-with-it kind of way.
Keep in mind that although this movie deals with important issues in an insightful way, it's still a movie about porn addiction. So although you won't see any full frontal shots, there are a fair amount of pornographic clips and sex scenes in the mix. Given the amount of nudity and sexuality in everything from billboard ads to HBO shows these days, the clips in Don Jon probably won't shock the average adult viewer. But if you're planning a movie date with your sweet, traditional grandmother, maybe catch another flick and check out Don Jon with friends.
Between sex scenes in what seems likes every movie or TV show and the romanticized ways people seem to be selling everything — from cars to perfume — it's no wonder we can get caught in a loop of thinking about nothing but sex and romance. And more importantly, thinking about it in unrealistic ways. If you're looking for a film that's clever and funny but offers a little something extra in terms of worldly observations, Don Jon is definitely worth checking out.