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Don Jon

Don Jon

USA 2013 - with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Brie Larson ...

The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:

Movie info

Original title:Don Jon
Direction:Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Cinema release:14.11.2013
Production country:USA 2013
Running time:Approx. 93 min.
Rated:Age 16+
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Jon Martello (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a ladies' man to the core. There isn't a weekend that he doesn't get a beautiful, sexy lady in his bed. But as perfect as the women he charms may be, none have managed to give him the satisfaction he gets from the porn he consumes on the internet day after day. Jon doesn't seem to know the line between real sex and porn fantasies for a long time now, and just doesn't seem capable of letting himself go completely with a real woman. But when he meets the beguiling Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), that might change. Because not only is Barbara sexy as hell, she doesn't respond to his usual shtick. She makes him squirm, catapulting him straight into his first real relationship that could fundamentally change his life. He even goes back to school to try to please his dream girl. When he meets the older Esther (Julianne Moore) at one of his evening classes, his life and his views on sex are turned completely upside down.

There's nothing new about actors trying their hand at directing. Dustin Hoffman, James Franco, Natalie Portman or Anthony Hopkins, they and many of their colleagues have succumbed to the allure of not just being in front of the camera anymore, but also behind it for once. This can succeed, but it can also go horribly wrong. Now Joseph Gordon-Levitt has also decided to broaden his artistic horizons and not only star in his new film, but also write and direct it. And from the fact that it is after five short films and his feature debut as a filmmaker, the result is more than respectable.

Because the direction of Don Jon seems very purposeful and confident. And that's absolutely necessary with a subject like this. Because too easily a film about a man addicted to internet porn could have degenerated into a raunchy farce. But even if Gordon-Levitt lets his dialogues come across rather crude here and there, he always finds the right tone to make his debut more than a flat sex comedy. Rather, he has succeeded in creating an extremely amusing, but especially in the second half also surprisingly profound portrait of a young man who, caught in a cycle of modern macho culture, overstimulation by modern media and exaggerated egomania, seems to have lost any capacity for real feelings.

For Jon, women are really just objects that he wants to use as he sees it in his beloved porn. But since women in real life don't like to do the things shown in sex fantasies, even when he gets to share a bed with a dream girl like Barbara, he's quickly bored. Giving himself completely to her, opening himself up to her emotionally - that's out of the question for Jon. He only gives free rein to his emotions on the gym equipment, while swearing in the car, while confessing in church and just in front of his computer screen. Jon is actually a very sad, lonely character, getting the validation from women that he doesn't get from his father (wonderful: Tony Who is the boss here Danza). But he is only really satisfied for the few seconds he can escape into the world of internet porn.

While Jon seems very superficial and one-dimensional at the beginning, Gordon-Levitt manages with his pointed acting to give this character an unexpected depth and above all an extremely high sympathy value in the course of the story. He is supported by some great co-stars. Scarlett Johansson is just great as the manipulative chick. The way she reduces Jon, who is actually so self-confident, to a will-less puppy is just wonderfully played. Julianne Moore, as a lonely fellow student with a sad past, is the absolute opposite of the lascivious Barbara. She doesn't just seem like a foreign body in Jon's life at the beginning. The character also doesn't quite want to fit into the story at first, until it becomes clear that this is exactly what makes her a key figure in Jon's life and in the whole film.

Don Jon actually has everything that good cinema entertainment needs. It's funny and clever, it's convincing with engaging camerawork and fast-paced editing, it's great acting, and it just makes you feel good. Sure, the film isn't perfect, but for a directorial debut, it's pretty darn close. Absolutely worth watching for lovers of slightly more sophisticated American independent comedies!

An article by Frankfurt-Tipp


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Cinema trailer for the movie "Don Jon (USA 2013)"
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