Jon Martello objectifies everything in his life: his apartment, his car, his family, his church, and, of course, women. His buddies even call him Don Jon because of his ability to pull "10s" every weekend without fail. Yet even the finest flings don't compare to the transcendent bliss he achieves alone in front of the computer watching pornography. Dissatisfied, he embarks on a journey to find a more gratifying sex life, but ends up learning larger lessons of life and love through relationships with two very different women. Written by
Don Jon, was a film that I had to be a little patient with. What first started as a vulgar, raucous and teen oriented film having little more than jokes involving perverseness and sexual humour and was something that I figured I had wasted my money on, turned out to completely surprise me and ended up as one of my favourite films of this year. Yes, the film does have a lot of sexual humour and content in it, but it has some reason to, seeing as the film is dealing with addiction to pornography. And what may have seemed immature and like teenage humour for the first little bit of the film, soon went away and it became one of the most insightful and intelligent films of the year. I have heard the comparisons to this film from 2011's Steve McQueen directed film, Shame which is also about sexual addiction. Unfortunately, I have not seen Shame yet. I missed it at theatres and every time I go to the library to rent it, it is out, so for obvious reasons I can not compare the two of them. Don Jon, did have a lot to say both about young men and women, sex and relationships. It's the kind of film you would almost want younger teens to see in order to learn something and perhaps plan their own lives and future relationships a little more differently. Here the internet pornography sites serve as a form of escape for this main character and while he likes being around women, he can not connect with them in the same way as he feels he can with things he sees on the computer. This further complicates things for himself because what we see on the internet and in magazines often times are things that are made to look perfect, beautiful and however you want to put it, but other than just looking at it, there is no real connection, or relationship to it. It is hollow and empty and void of any emotional connection or feelings to another person. Perhaps that is why this character can not relate to real women. Everything up to now has been completely empty and void of any feeling, or connection and in his mind if he doesn't have to attach himself in any way to a real woman, he wonders what the point of that is. Throughout the course of the film, our lead character, Jon, meets two very different women, who will both change his outlook and outcome of his way of handling relationships and finding truer meaning to both himself and others as well. The film while crude and a little graphic at times, is far more into psychological and character study than one may think and it is one of the most insightful and accurate looks at young, or basically any type of relationships that I have seen in a long time. Jon, is with one woman who seems to be his dream woman, but right from the start we do not really like her, or at least I didn't. She herself had an unrealistic view of relationships that was more about status symbols and image than about real love for one another as well. The other woman we meet knows more about relationships and more about Jon himself than he may want to admit, or care for her to know, but there is a whole different type of connection and intimacy level there. The film shows that so often young men treat women as sexual objects and fantasies and actually how we can be so demeaning and almost sexist towards them. At the same time, this selfish attitude hurts other people and ourselves because we can not truly ever find anything that is real if we continue on this way because everything has to be perfect, or just like it is on movies, magazines, or the internet and it gives us a false distortion of reality, relationships and other people. The film is the first film written and directed by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt whose acting has impressed me over the years, especially in films like Gregg Araki's Mysterious Skin. Now he shows that he can not only act, but write and direct as well. The film has moments of laugh out loud humour, but it also has a tender and emotional side to it as well. It examines these people and what is really behind them and the hurts, or the things they have been through and it is honest both about men, women and relationships in general. As the film ended, I could totally understand the way the film ended and why Levitt, decided to do it in that way. It felt realistic for his character, but at the same time also connected to beauty and happiness. I enjoyed the screenplay and direction immensely as well as the performances were all quite good as well. I liked the quick jump cut editing and the film's use of music in certain scenes, I felt worked really well also. I know some viewers will be turned off by the material and subject matter, but it really is a film worth seeing if you are in a relationship, or even if you are not and this is a film that definitely has something to say. I look forward to future writing and directing projects for Levitt, and as it stands Don Jon, is one of 2013's best and maybe most misunderstood films as well.
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