“Movies and porn are different, Jon. They give awards for movies.”
Jon “Don Jon” Martello Jr (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is an attractive, egotistical and shallow porn addict. An addict though he does not know it. His friends consider him to be a Don Juan of the modern day. He sleeps with a lot of women, though he still watches a lot of porn, being of the opinion that it is superior to sex. He loves his family, his car, his body, his home, his friends, his church, his girls and his pornography, though not in that order exactly. One night out he meets a girl and she is just gorgeous for him in every which way. He flirts with her and makes out with her but she leaves to go home at the end of the night without him. He is not deterred, and picks up another girl and goes home with her. After their night is spent together, he goes and watches pornography. The real deal simply doesn’t live up to that which pornographic dreams he has.
“Since last Sunday I had sexual relations out of wedlock two times. I also watched pornographic videos and masturbated seventeen times. For these, and all the sins in my life, I am sorry.” – Jon
Doing something completely out of character when he cannot stop thinking about the mysterious girl at the club that turned his one night stand down, he starts asking around about her and learns that her name is Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johannson), and gets hold of her to meet him for lunch. The two circle around each other, both being the unknown quantity. They are both attracted to one another, but she refuses to sleep with him and that be all the relationship is about. The two start dating one another, and Jon needs to make do without sex for more than a month. Jon is also taking classes at night so that he can get a more stable job than that from the service industry. Jon introduces Barbara to his mother Angela (Glenne Headly), father Jon Martello Sr (Tony Danza) and sister Monica (Brie Larson). The family seems to like her a lot. Barbara starts changing a lot of things in Jon’s life, and he allows it to happen, but does not see the bigger picture.
“You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” – Jon
The couple finally sleeps together, though Jon is disappointed with the result. He was expecting the sex to be the best thing ever. After they are done, naturally he gets up to watch porn. Barbara catches him and freaks out, leaving Jon to lie to her about it being a joke email that one of the guys sent to her. Calming down, she believes him and things go back to normal. Jon starts to hide his tendency to watch porn, getting his fix where he can. At college he meets a woman named Esther (Julianne Moore), emotional and very strange. She catches him watching porn but does not judge him. The two eventually enter into a very strange friendship, and Jon starts confiding his secrets to her. Jon and Barbara’s relationship is far from perfect, and the longer they are together the more controlling she becomes, and he allows it. She puts him down about the things that he finds to be personally satisfying, and eventually their relationship starts to splinter, though Jon is in love with her. Discovering porn in Jon’s browser, Barbara calls an end to their relationship, though Jon will not tell anyone.
“If you wanna lose yourself, you have to lose yourself in another person. It’s a two way thing.” – Esther
Will they be able to find a way to work past their differences? Will Jon stop lying to Barbara about the porn? Will Jon find a way to enjoy sex as much as he does pornography, or is that something that is just never going to matter? Will Barbara be the woman to teach him that women are there for more than just sexual gratification and the stroking of the male ego? Will Jon complete his college classes so that he has an education behind him?
Don Jon earns a 6.5/10. This really was not a bad outing for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and again he showcases his talents here, taking it up a notch to include directing, too. I enjoyed the movie for what it was, giving another look at how some people may perceive porn to be, as well as the insane track record Jon had created for himself, and how incredibly selfish and dissatisfied he is no matter what. The way he changes tack and attempts to go on the straight and narrow to get laid in a more satisfying way had me laughing. Scarlett Johannson was brilliant to play Barbara, and she, too, was as selfish as her male counterpart. It seemed a match made in heaven, though naturally, nothing was changed too much from him. Listening to Jon defend his pornographic enjoyment was funny and sad both at the same time, because it truly highlights that he is an addict. I had to laugh at how/where Jon exercised his penance according to the Catholic Church – in gym while working out. Also, the way it shows how Jon really did love the church, and considered it to have a huge impact in his life, just to learn that he is a mere member to them, nothing more, nothing special. Monica says nothing throughout the film, but when Brie Larson was utelised to say what was required, it carried so much more impact. Julianne Moore was again worth checking out, she was emotional and she carried her character well. I thought she was well cast, though there were so many complaints. Definitely not a movie I would say is family friendly viewing, it is not too bad to check out when you have the time.