Today: May 20, 2024

Don Jon

The whole ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ thing has been done to death in cinema but Don Jon finds a modern and unique way of exploring it.  Romantic comedies are a dime a dozen, clichéd and normally forgettable, something that Don Jon is all too ready to draw attention to and in doing so offers not just a fresh look at the genre but also a contemporary way of our perception of love and relationships.

Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is your typical bar fly stud.  He’s taking home a different girl each night and is so smooth with the ladies his friends call him Don.  But Jon thinks that real women pale in comparison to the pornography he can find online; the porn stars do things how he’d like a woman to behave.  So when he meets the beautiful and demanding Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) he has to choose between the real girl or the ones that beam into his computer.  Convinced by Barbara to go back to night school, Jon meets Esther (Julianne Moore) who helps him realise that the girls he so likes to watch in porn aren’t real and that he needs to find a way of connecting to people rather than the internet.

As debut feature films go Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon marks him out as not just an actor to watch but also a filmmaker of huge potential.  It’s a simple story well told that addresses all manner of modern day dating conundrums.  Yes, Jon’s fixation on porn is an issue but by that same standard so is Barbara’s belief that relationships should be like they are in the multitude of Hollywood fairytales.  Both of them live in a world wherein their fantasy partner is just that, a fantasy.

While the themes may seem a little highbrow for a film of this ilk the characters bring much of the comedy.  They’re not always believable as real people, more larger than life cartoons but as a result you always like them.  Johansson is clearly reveling in bringing a bit of a New Jersey twang to her pouty ways.  Her nails always perfect, hand perfectly poised on her hip and able to manipulate Jon with an almost Sharon Stone level of seductiveness.  Gordon-Levitt meanwhile is brilliant as Jon.  With his slick-back hair, pumped muscles and cocksure swagger he’s entertainingly arrogant, a preening peacock who you wouldn’t mind being taken down a peg or two.  It’s telling that he has more chemistry with the always-brilliant Moore than he does with the Barbie Doll shallowness of Johansson’s Barbara.

A modern look at love for the internet age Don Jon won’t have you falling for it but it will make you smile and re-think Mr. / Mrs. Right.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email:

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