Levitt directs arousing film debut

Many have expressed concern with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s
directorial debut of Don Jon. Many of my suburban citizens express their distaste. “It’s too raunchy, a mini porno, lack of taste.” However, if you are a Joseph
Gordon-Levitt fan and have a filter in your brain, you will be offered a refreshing new flavor of romance to wow you, the faithful Joseph Gordon-Levitt fan.


Joseph Gordon-Levitt (JGL) is a well-adored actor in the Hollywood scene today. With his many loved roles from Tom Hanson in 500 Days of Summer to Robin in The Dark Knight Rises, JGL never disappoints his fans with his wide range of acting ability.


JGL had to make a bold move for his directorial debut and his choice is nothing short of disappointing. It was bold indeed, recreating the famous Lord Byron poem of Don Juan into a modern version, Don Jon.

The theme is very risky. The theme focuses on sex, a subject appealing to this modern 20-something generation, a fairly sociological and more tolerant generation. We aren’t as baffled by sexual acts as preceding generations.

Showing the Don as a porn-addicted man is showing the struggles this generation faces in the balance of love and sex. JGL reaches out to the audience showing the viewer not only the struggle but also the resolve and how to keep love and sexual intimacy intertwined.


JGL plays Jon Martello, the “Don”, an iron-pumping, church-going, pornography-loving 20-something-year-old living in New Jersey. Jon loves to hit up the clubs to take home a woman for his nightly pleasures.

JGL gives a refreshing addition to his acting repertoire. I was skeptical at first that he wouldn’t be able to pull of the douche-bag persona since he is so well adored in his corky rom-com roles. To my surprise though I was blown away at how well JGL gave off his performance as the Don.


The story builds when Jon is at the club and he meets a “dime”, miss Barbara Sugarman played by the gorgeous Scarlett Johansson. Johansson perfectly plays off the “Jersey woman” making Jon swoon over her sass and charm. Barbara exudes sexual desire in the eyes of Jon. The struggle for Jon though is his obsession with pornography; he sees porn as a greater form of pleasure than actual physical sex.


The transposing of the script into a modern setting is well done. The story is completely believable and relatable. JGL did an excellent job in adapting the story to modern time, well enough for a cast of veteran actors to make their own.


Tony Danza plays Jon’s snarky and ornery father, Jon Sr. The relationship between JGL and Danza was well played and well orchestrated by both actors.


Also gracing the screen with her wonderful presence is Julianne Moore, who plays Jon’s night school pal, Esther. Moore brings her sultry disposition to add a bit of flavor to the cast of cliché Jersey antics. She is the cherry on top to this sexy dessert.


The acting is nothing to complain about; but if I had to complain about something, it would have to be the filming and editing.

The screen shots showed little variation and nothing out of the box, and at times I cried out for the need of a Steadicam. The only scenes worth praising are the repetitive scenes showing Jon’s gym-time/Lord’s prayer-time.


Don Jon ultimately offers a witty and sensual outlook on the modern struggles of love versus lust. Though I doubt JGL will be sitting next to Ron Howard at the Oscars, his first attempt at being behind the magic of the camera paid off. I am curious to see what else will come out of that brilliant mind of his for his next project.

Author: Rachel Keeney

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