Gordon-Levitt’s Jon Don – Sex, Porn, and Addictive Viewing

Entertainment
There’s only a few things I really care about in life: My body, my pad, my ride, my family, my church, my boys, my girls… and my porn.” Jon Martello is a man who knows what he wants, and Don Jon is a movie about how that can change. Writer, director and star Joseph Gordon-Levitt creates Jon. He’s a hair-gelling, weight-lifting New Jersey bartender, and has no trouble getting girls, but prefers porn to the real thing. Don Jon succeeds as a hilarious comedy and even more so as a brutally honest character study. It’s one of those rare movies that can be entertaining and be about something at the same time.Don Jon is obsessed with himself. Everything he mentions in the above list is a reflection of his public image, except his porn. His compulsive bench-pressing, his meticulous hoovering, his ability to pull an “8 or above” every weekend, all of these are efforts to create a “Don Jon” mystique. Jon turns himself into a caricature, and leaves everyone to wonder what’s real.

That’s where porn comes in. Why else would such a specimen of macho perfection hunch over a laptop screen with a box of tissues at the ready, and wade through hours of low-resolution doggy-style footage until he finds just “the right clip”? Why, comfortably lying next to a “10,” would he feel compelled to sneak out of bed and watch other people have sex? Jon provides a simple yet revealing explanation: “When I watch porn, I lose myself.”

Don Jon dares to ask the difficult question of what’s real and what’s fake in human interactions. Where’s the gap between who we are and who others perceive us to be? Porn is Jon’s sliver of private self, the naïve, pubescent teenager who’s discovering the birds and the bees for the first time. No one is there to judge him or rate his performance out of ten. All Jon has to do for a few minutes is to get lost in the fantasy.don-jon-picture06

Relationships with real-life women are much trickier and more uncertain. There’s Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), a sultry, buxom “dime” Jon meets in some club, who takes him to see lots of Hollywood romantic comedies, holds off on letting him pass the different bases, and insists that he abandon his one guilty pleasure. Then there’s Esther (Julianne Moore), a hauntingly beautiful older student in his continuing education class, who spontaneously bursts into tears and proudly gifts Jon a Danish porn classic.

One of these love interests fizzles. The other one allows Jon to grow. Don Jon is essentially a study in why one type of love doesn’t bring about happiness, and another kind does. This movie works because of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He paints all his characters honestly, and breathes life and a soul into Jon. He doesn’t wind up married with ten kids frolicking in suburban bliss. Instead, at the risk of spoiling the ending, he’s happier and hornier than ever. But he’s not staring at a computer screen. He’s looking into the eyes of another human being, and she’s staring right back at him. It’s a two-way thing.

Don Jon made me feel glad.  And I strongly suspect if you go see this week it will make you feel glad too.

PHOTOS\\ nydailynews, ashvegas

 

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