Movie Review: Don Jon

Reporter and Reporter

Pornography is often an unspoken yet prominent part of the typical person’s daily routine.

Among college-age adults, 87 percent of men and 31 percent of women watch pornography, according to a recent study by Brigham Young University.

Jon Martello (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) falls into that 87 percent. He is so consumed by women that his friends call him Don Jon, a literary figure who is always seducing women.

Unlike ancient ladies man Don Jon, the 21st century tech-savvy Don Jon can direct his sexual energy at virtual women online. He soon finds the pleasure he gets from the erotic pixels is better than the pleasure he gets from real women.

Even after he has sex with girlfriend Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson), the woman he calls “the most beautiful person in the world,” his MacBook lights up with unparalleled sexual stimulation.

In any taken guy’s or girl’s worst nightmare, Martello’s girlfriend catches him in the act, forcing him to come clean about his addiction. Through his relationship with Sugarman and a friend (Julianne Moore) from a night class, Martello begins to understand the differences between real sex and virtual sex.

This independent film does an incredible job tackling an issue that affects millions of people multiple times a day. Pornography addiction closely resembles alcohol or drug addiction. But since it is a socially embarrassing and a scathingly intimate experience, an unhealthy obsession with pornography is rarely discussed.

“Don Jon” relentlessly shows how pornography fits into anyone’s daily rituals, almost to a point where its repetition and cyclical nature are annoying.

One fascinating scene between Martello and his night class friend shatters this redundancy. They bond in a way that is tremendously honest and revealing. Martello learns that he had been using pornography in a one-sided and selfish way. He learns sex is bigger than self-gratification; it’s about sharing something powerful, vulnerable and incredible with another person.

“Don Jon” is making a statement about the way online users are entrapped and consumed by pornography. Still, it also tries to be a romantic comedy, which comes off inappropriate and phony at times.

“Don Jon” is an interesting piece, but sometimes it’s unsure of what it’s trying to do. Still, it provides an interesting look at the world of pornography and how it fits into our daily lives.