Don Jon

Don Jon-coverWhat Jesse said:

The next movie I want you to watch is Don Jon. Should be right up your alley…

Mike’s verdict:

Jesse hasn’t seen this one – his “recommendation” was actually meant as a thinly veiled insult because I implied he was lame for thinking The Conjuring is scary. But Jesse doesn’t understand what this movie is actually about. All he knows is that Scarlett Johansson is in the trailer and the IMDB blurb mentions porn. Well Jesse, you can’t trust everything you find on the internet.

Don Jon is not about sex. It’s not about addiction, or unrealistic expectations. It’s definitely not about Scarlett Johansson.

Don Jon is an unpretentious and insightful portrayal of the love that develops out of total, genuine, unflinching honesty. This is not the Hollywood-fairytale-ride-off-into-the-sunset love; it’s the complete release from anxiety that only happens when nerves are exposed and there’s no reason left to hide.

I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an amazing actor. He has an unbelievable range (have you seen Hesher?), so I didn’t need the recommendation from Jesse – I would have watched Don Jon even if only to find out what kind of writer / director Gordon-Levitt is. He does not disappoint – especially considering this is a first attempt at writing a feature film.

But Gordon-Levitt doesn’t hold up the film alone. Julianne Moore, for one, is fantastic. You don’t end up feeling like you fully understand her character, but I think that’s intended – and it works. Her role reminded me a lot of what she did in Chloe. Johansson also does a good job – she’s totally believable as a Jersey girl – but she was clearly type-cast for the role.  Tony Danza on the other hand was definitely not type-cast and he was a pleasant surprise. I probably wouldn’t have even recognized him if I hadn’t noticed his name in the opening credits. Finally, one actor I think most people will over look is Brie Larson. She plays Gordon-Levitt’s sister and does an incredible job with very little. She only speaks in one scene but her character’s personality manages to come through as well as any of the leads’.

Obviously, I really liked Don Jon. It’s honest, it’s unashamed, and it ends exactly when it should. It gets 9/10, losing a single point only because a lot of the nudity was unnecessary to the story. Certainly some of it was needed to force a point, and I understand that in some sense the excess was intentional. But I think that it makes the film inaccessible to exactly the audience that most needs to see it. Even so, if you’re not a prude Don Jon is definitely worth seeing.

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