Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Synopsis: Jon (Gordon-Levitt) is a guy who loves only a few things in life; his body, his house, his car, his Church, his family, his boys, his girls, and his porn. Jon is a porn addict, but after meeting Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), he is forced to give up porn in order to commit to a real life, mutually beneficial relationship.
Overview: When I saw this film in 2013, I immediately fell in love with it. The comedy really clicked, the performances were great, the film was paced really well, and all the scenes just gave off such a unique energy that I came out of the theater buzzing. I recently re-watched Don Jon for the first time, and surprisingly ended up enjoying it even more than I did on first viewing.
It isn’t really a date movie, but the film actually manages to go further beyond the tropes and basic structure of raunchy comedies because of the way it handles its themes and its characters. The film really digs deep into Jon’s porn addiction and egocentrism, wherein Gordon-Levitt gets to explore the character and his different relationships while also painting a nice arc of growth for Jon, and the result is a clever and emotionally satisfying, raunchy comedy.
There’s no doubt that there’s a certain level of cockiness in the approach of Gordon-Levitt to his first directorial feature film, which he also wrote, but that’s exactly what makes the film feel so alive. The editing is marvelous as it follows Jon engaging in his weekly routine, the film committed to its structure of using these sequences in his daily routine in repetition, and it strangely works. All the sequences blend together tonally, and are used to complement Jon’s own character arc in the story. With each new repetition of the cycle, you see the subtle changes in Jon’s life that reflect his current emotional state.
In a lot of ways, Don Jon is perfect for a late-night, Netflix watch. It’s funny, fulfilling, relatively short, and better suited to be watched alone. Raunchy comedies are rarely good, but this is actually one that you can just lose yourself in.