Don Jon is a 2013 American romantic comedy-drama 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. The film premiered under its original title Don Jon's Addiction at the Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2013, and had its wide release in the United States on September 27, 2013.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joseph Gordon-Levitt|
|Produced by||Ram Bergman|
|Written by||Joseph Gordon-Levitt|
|Music by||Nathan Johnson|
Malcolm Kirby Jr.
|Edited by||Lauren Zuckerman|
|Distributed by||Relativity Media|
|Box office||$41.3 million|
Jon Martello is a young Italian American and modern-day Don Juan living and working as a bartender in New Jersey, with a short list of things he cares about: "my body, my pad, my ride, my family, my church, my boys, my girls, my porn." Though he has a very active sex life, he is more sexually satisfied by viewing pornography and masturbating, which he claims allows him to "lose himself."
On a night out with his two best friends, Bobby and Danny, Jon sees Barbara Sugarman, a young woman from a more affluent background. Although she finds him interesting, she declines his offer for a one-night stand. He tracks her down on Facebook and invites her to lunch. There is mutual attraction, but Barbara insists on a long-term courtship, which proceeds for over a month without sex. She encourages Jon to take night classes to get an office job outside the service industry, and Jon indulges her love for romance movies, which he usually dismisses as unrealistic fantasy. They meet each other's families and Jon's parents love her.
The two have sex, but Jon is still dissatisfied. He loves Barbara and considers her body perfect, but still finds pornography more satisfying. While she sleeps, Jon watches pornography. Barbara catches him and is shocked. She prepares to leave Jon, but he denies that he watches pornography and claims it was a joke emailed to him by a friend.
Their relationship resumes, with Jon watching pornography primarily outside his apartment, concealing his habit from Barbara. He is caught watching a video on his cell phone before a college class by Esther, a middle-aged woman Jon earlier encountered weeping by herself. Jon politely brushes her off. Barbara continues asserting control, insisting that cleaning his own apartment, a task Jon finds satisfying, is not something she is comfortable with him doing. Barbara checks the browser history on Jon's computer, confronts him with proof that he has continued viewing pornography, then ends their relationship.
Jon tries to return to his old lifestyle, but ends up in a downward spiral. Esther continues reaching out, offering Jon the benefit of her experience. She lends him an erotic video that she believes has a more realistic depiction of sexual relations. He responds by initiating a sexual encounter in her parked car. She persuades Jon to try masturbating without pornography, but he is unable to. She feels the reason he is more satisfied with watching than having sex is that pornography is a one-sided affair. If Jon wants to lose himself, it must be to another person, a mutual experience. Esther reveals that her husband and son died in a car accident. With her, Jon forms an emotional sexual connection.
Jon tells his family about the break-up with Barbara. While they are displeased, his sister Monica states that Barbara was just dating Jon because she knew she could manipulate him. Jon meets with Barbara and apologizes for lying to her about the pornography. Barbara says she asked one thing of him and he failed. Jon replies that she asked many things of him and he could not meet her expectations. As she tells him to never contact her again, he sees how shallow she is and realizes he is better off without her.
Jon begins dating Esther. Even though she is considerably older and neither has any interest in getting married, Jon believes he really understands Esther and that they can get emotionally lost in each other.
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jon Martello Jr.
- Scarlett Johansson as Barbara Sugarman
- Julianne Moore as Esther
- Tony Danza as Jon Martello, Sr.
- Glenne Headly as Angela Martello
- Brie Larson as Monica Martello
- Rob Brown as Bobby
- Jeremy Luke as Danny
- Paul Ben-Victor as Priest
- Lindsey Broad as Lauren
- Anne Hathaway as Emily Lombardo
- Channing Tatum as Conner Verreaux
- Meagan Good as Hollywood Actress #2
- Cuba Gooding Jr. as Hollywood Actor #2
- Sarah Dumont as Sequins
Development for Don Jon began in 2008, when Gordon-Levitt wrote early notes about the film. Rian Johnson gave feedback during the writing process and reviewed several cuts of the film. Christopher Nolan cautioned against both directing and starring in the film due to the extra challenges it would bring.
Gordon-Levitt has credited his experience directing short films for HitRecord for teaching him what he needed to know to make Don Jon and has said that he hopes to make films in a more collaborative way in the future.
Principal photography for Don Jon began in May 2012.
In the United States, the film was originally certified NC-17, due to some explicit porn that Jon watches. Gordon-Levitt decided to remove some of the more graphic scenes to qualify for an "R" rating, because he felt the original rating would cause people to think the movie was about porn.
Don Jon received positive reviews from critics, with most giving praise to the lead performances, especially Gordon-Levitt's. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 79% approval rating, based on reviews from 194 critics, with a rating average of 6.8/10. The website's critical consensus states: "Don Jon proves to be an amiable directing debut for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and a vivacious showcase for his co-star, Scarlett Johansson". Metacritic gives a score of 66 out of 100 based on reviews from 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable" reviews. Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore on the opening weekend, gave Don Jon a C+ grade.
Don Jon received very positive reviews at the Sundance Film Festival. Entertainment Weekly managing editor Jess Cagle called the film "one of the best movies I saw at the fest" and wrote, "Funny, touching, smart, and supremely confident, Don Jon is also Gordon-Levitt's feature directorial debut, and it establishes him as one of Hollywood's most exciting new directors." William Goss of Film.com praised Levitt for his "assured style" as both director and screenwriter. Edward Douglas of ComingSoon.net gave high praise to the screenplay. Consensus of the film when it was played at the Sundance Film Festival, as noted by Odie Henderson, was that Don Jon was a "more fun version" of the 2011 film Shame.
The supporting actresses Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore received praise for their performances. Stephanie Zacharek of The Village Voice praised the film, writing: "There's no dancing in Gordon-Levitt's writing-directing debut, Don Jon, although the movie is so heavily reminiscent—in the good way—of Saturday Night Fever that an arm-swinging paint-can reverie wouldn't be out of place."
Don Jon grossed $24.5 million in North America and $16.5 million internationally, for a total worldwide gross of $41 million.
|Bombay International Film Festival||Golden Gateway||Joseph Gordon-Levitt||Nominated|
|COFCA Award||Breakthrough Film Artist||Brie Larson||2nd place|
|Chicago Film Critics Association Award||Most Promising Filmmaker||Joseph Gordon-Levitt||Nominated|
|Denver Film Critics Society Award||Best Comedy Film||Nominated|
|Georgia Film Critics Association||Breakthrough Award||Brie Larson||Won|
|Golden Trailer Awards||Don LaFontaine Award for Best Voice Over||Mark Woolen & Associates||Nominated|
|Most Original Trailer||J.D. Funari
Mark Woolen & Associates
|Don LaFontaine Award for Best Voice Over||Nominated|
|Gotham Award||Best Actress||Scarlett Johansson||Nominated|
|IGN Summer Movie Awards||Best Comedy Film||Nominated|
|Independent Spirit Award||Best First Screenplay||Joseph Gordon-Levitt||Nominated|
|Jupiter Award||Best International Actor||Nominated|
|Key Art Award||Best Trailer—Audio/Visual||J.D. Funari
Mark Woolen & Associates
|MTV Movie Award||Best Kiss||Scarlett Johansson||Nominated|
|Phoenix Film Critics Society Award||Breakthrough Performance Behind the Camera||Nominated|
|Prism Awards||Performance in a Feature Film||Nominated|
|Feature Film—Mental Health||Nominated|
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- Davis, Edward (March 8, 2013). "The Addiction Dropped: Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Directorial Debut Becomes 'Don Jon'; Plus Four New Photos". IndieWire. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
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- Rosen, Christopher (March 13, 2013). "Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 'Don Jon' Star, On The Advice He Didn't Take From Christopher Nolan". HuffPost. Oath. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
- Gordon-Levitt, Joseph (January 21, 2013). "hitRECordJoe, EXCITING NEWS! :oD". HitRecord. Tumblr. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
- Kaufman, Amy (April 22, 2013). "Joseph Gordon-Levitt: I cut some graphic porn from 'Don Jon'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
The Sundance cut was us pushing it past where it really ought to be, and I think it was sort of distracting for audiences. People came away feeling like, ‘Oh, this is a movie about porn,’ and I was like, ‘No, it’s not a movie about that at all.’ I think because those images were so strong, they were leaving a heavier impression than I wanted them to.
- "Don Jon (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
- "Don Jon Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
- Finke, Nikki (September 29, 2013). "'Cloudy With Meatballs 2′ Beefs Up For $35M And Easy #1, 'Rush' Slows To Small $10.6M, 'Baggage Claim' Gets Lost With $9.2M, And 'Don Jon' Can't Seduce Past $8.8M Weekend". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
- Susman, Gary (September 30, 2013). "Box Office: How Did 'Baggage Claim' Beat 'Don Jon'?". Moviefone. Archived from the original on April 20, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
- Cagle, Jess (February 8, 2013). "Editor's Note: Feb. 8 2013". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
- Goss, William (January 24, 2013). "Review: 'Don Jon'". Film.com. MTV Networks. Archived from the original on June 10, 2015. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
- Douglas, Edward (September 16, 2013). "Don Jon Review". ComingSoon.net. Mandatory. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
- Henderson, Odie (September 27, 2013). "Don Jon". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
- Hoffman, Jordan (January 21, 2013). "'Don Jon's Addiction' Review". ScreenCrush. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
- Whale, Chase (January 19, 2013). "Sundance 2013 Review: DON JON'S ADDICTION Bulks Up the Body and Career of Joseph Gordon-Levitt". Screen Anarchy. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
Moore is a marvelous actress and this role is just another reason to love her.
- Zacharek, Stephanie (September 25, 2013). "Joseph Gordon-Levitt Triumphs Over Online Porn in Don Jon". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
- Atkinson, Katie (March 1, 2014). "Independent Spirit Awards 2014: The winners list". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
- Kauffmann, Jeremy (January 8, 2014). "Don Jon Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved August 22, 2018.