Don Jon (2013)
Running Time: 90 minutes
Directed by: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza
Jon Martello (Gordon-Levitt) objectifies everything in his life, from his car to his apartment, his family, his church and lastly women. His friends nicknamed him Don Jon because of his ability to attract “10s” without fail. However, even with all these women, it was nothing compared to what he finds in watching pornography. It wasn’t until he meets Barbara (Johansson) that he learns about the true meaning of love and how he should prioritize his life.
What was interesting about this film is that it reminded me very much of recent quirky rom-coms such as (500) Days of Summer. The storyline was simple, the characters were simple, the setting was simple, yet there was something about the film as you’re watching it, that it hits you or makes you ponder about the way we view life these days or on certain topics such as love, our possessions, etc. I love the clichés and stereotypes that Gordon-Levitt had created within the main characters, the charming and cocky leading male character, and the extremely attractive and rom-com lover leading lady, the doting mother, the ignorant sibling, the hot-headed father, the supporting buddies, and a quirky middle-aged lady. By blending in all the characters and settings that we’ve come to be so familiar or comfortable with from other films, the movie somehow became more realistic and rawer. There were moments I found myself turning away from the screen because the film just became too realistic to handle. I thought all in all, in terms of the script and the directing, Gordon-Levitt did very well for a debut.
Aside from the storyline, I was definitely impressed with the cast. I was definitely carried away by Gordon-Levitt and Johansson’s portrayal of the leading characters. It wasn’t until the end of the film when the credits were rolling; I was reminded of the actors involved in the film. The New Jersey accents, the way they walked, the way they behave was such a contrast to the actors themselves. It wasn’t hard to lose yourself in the characters. I was however, a bit doubtful of the chemistry between Moore and Gordon-Levitt, I wasn’t sure what it was, but something about the duo just didn’t feel right at times.
Overall, the film was definitely a must-watch for those who are looking for a slightly different take on romantic comedies. There was definitely something very original, raw and edgy about this film, yet it still resonates with the themes and characters from previous films. If you’re a fan of Gordon-Levitt, then I would say you definitely can’t miss this film. It was a very enjoyable film, filled with comedic moments, and a few surprising elements too. It’s one of those rom-coms that leaves you thinking about your own take on love and the people around you.
Rating: 7 out of 10