October 3, 2013

Movie Review: Don Jon

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has had a very interesting career thus far. Since first appearing on television as the youngest cast member on 3rd Rock from the Sun, he has grown up and made the transition through teen years to adulthood with interesting loves such as Brick, Mysterious Skin, The Lookout, (500)Days of Summer, Inception, 50/50, and Looper, among others. Now, he is showing that he has been paying attention behind the scenes with his writing and directing debut. Don Jon, is a brave and insightful movie that is certainly not for everyone and is definitely not a date night movie.

When I first learned of the movie, I knew I wanted to see it, being a fan of Levitt's, but I really had no idea what to expect. I mean, the movie is about an Internet porn addict who finds a girl who may be the one. It is am interesting subject to tackle, one that I cannot recall being confronted before.

Levitt stars as Jon, a guy who only cares about a few things, as noted in the trailer, he focuses on things like his body, his apartment, his family, and church, not to mention his porn. While he and his boys rank girls they see at the club, he does not get the same feeling in bed the way it is when he watches porn on his laptop. Clearly, this puts a crimp in his love life with real people.

Jon, and most of the people in the movie are not very likable. It is like The Jersey Shore if they turned the cameras off, at least how I picture it might be (never watched the show and based on clips cannot imagine anyone liking it, much less living that way). Watching how he acts, how his girlfriend (Scarlet Johansson) acts, not to mention his family, it is and not to picture them as self obsessed jerks.

It is in this ugliness that the movie works. While it is, on the surface, an examination of a porn addicts inability to have a normal relationship, it can also be seen as a look at society's selfishness. Perhaps.

As it stands, Don Jon is an interesting film that keeps it realistic by not taking the usual route and by not explaining everything. Just sit back and watch the development of Jon, the way he judges everything on the surface, about what I can do for him, his misuse of Church and confession as a means to condone his self serving actions. Continue watching to see what, if anything, changes in his views and how it relates to others around him.

I am not sure I can say I loved the movie, but there is certainly something to be said about the developments on the latter portions of the movie. It takes an emotional turn that does not overstate its importance. Conversations happen and things sink in and point of views begin adjustment. As the credits roll, the characters are damaged, nut there are signs of hope for personal development.

Don Jon is a good movie that takes chances. It is a brave film about relationships that does not feel very far removed from reality. Joseph Gordon-Levitt proves to be a dangerous triple threat. I look forward to what he dos next.


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