Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Writer: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Don Jon is a 2013 American romantic comedy film written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Produced by Ram Bergman and Nicolas Chartier, the film stars Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore, with Rob Brown, Glenne Headly, Brie Larson and Tony Danza in supporting roles. – wikipedia
Don Jon was a fairly ambitious project for Joseph to embark upon. The film attempts to explore how modern day porn affects the life of a young man in todays society who is attempting to explore the notion of “love” and develop a meaningful relationship.
Joseph put a great deal of effort into the film and before I had seen it I thought that it had been fairly well cast. Unfortunately the main problem that I had with the film was Josephs portrayal of the main character Jon Martello Junior. Everything seemed theoretically correct but I just wasn’t grasping the authenticity of an Italian stallion or Jersey shore “Guido” vibe. The character development seemed like it was in the script but didn’t translate 100 percent effectively onto the screen.
In a stroke of genius Tony Danza was cast as Jon Martello, Sr. the protagonist’s father who managed to pull off the guido persona in an exceptional fashion. Danza’s performance as Don Jon’s father, whilst a supporting role was very effective at adding authenticity to the film.
The greatest surprise and bitter sweet delight for me was Scarlett Johansson’s performance as Don Jon’s stunning love interest, Barbara Sugarman. I have not had much interest in Scarlett’s performances in the past and haven’t found her work to be very invigorating or substantial but I was pleasantly surprised and shocked by her chutzpah in this film where she committed 100% to the role and delivered one of the more interesting performances that I have seen this year.
The biggest let down, which was a real shocker for me was Julianne Moore’s performance as Esther. Having previously loved and been entirely enthralled by all of Julianne’s performances I was stunned by the fact that the character that she created for this film was so lackluster. It felt like I was watching Julianne, not watching Esther and to my complete amazement her performance in the film was completely overshadowed by that of Scarlett Johansson who up until now I had considered a second rate hack at best.
Joseph had succeeded at creating a special interest story, one that wasn’t entirely captivating on screen due to minor plot problems which created a boring and stifled atmosphere and entailed some less than convincing performances by himself and Julianne. Such an ambitious prospect did have a high potential for failure and unfortunately the film could not be saved by Scarlett and Tony’s exceptional performances.
I really wanted this project to succeed and it is probably worth watching, more so than “the heat“, that is for sure. I rate this film a conservative 6 out of 10 purely because I think a decent attempt has been made to explore an important issue in a creative context that may lead to an easier and less sterile forum for public discussion.
References: Wikipedia, Imdb, google images