Don Jon is a 2013 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt in his feature directorial debut. 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 was released in the United States on September 27, 2013. The film grossed $41 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews from critics.
|Directed by||Joseph Gordon-Levitt|
|Written by||Joseph Gordon-Levitt|
|Produced by||Ram Bergman|
|Edited by||Lauren Zuckerman|
|Music by||Nathan Johnson|
|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. He enjoys being independent and has a strict regimen of exercise, caring for his apartment and 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle SS, and weekly family dinners. Though he prides himself on his active casual sex life, he is more satisfied by watching and masturbating to hardcore pornography. To atone for his sexual indiscretions, he completes weekly confessions at church.
At a nightclub with his two best friends, Bobby and Danny, Jon becomes enamored with Barbara Sugarman, an attractive young woman from an affluent background. Despite heavy flirting, she declines his offer for a one-night stand. Finding her on Facebook, he invites her to lunch. There is mutual attraction, but Barbara insists on a long-term courtship and demands he always be honest. Their relationship proceeds over a month and without sex. She encourages Jon to take a nighttime community college class to obtain a career outside the service industry, and he indulges her love for romantic films, which he usually dismisses as fantasy. They meet each other's friends and families, and Jon's parents are immediately smitten by her.
They finally have sex, but Jon is still dissatisfied. He considers her body perfect, but still finds porn more satisfying. Barbara catches him watching porn, but he manages to convince her that it was a joke email sent by a friend. Their relationship resumes, with Jon concealing his habit from her. Esther, a middle-aged classmate Jon previously encountered weeping by herself, catches him watching porn on his cell phone, but he 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. She checks the browser history on Jon's computer and ends their relationship.
Jon returns to his old lifestyle, and his habit develops into porn addiction. Jon and Esther become more acquainted and she gives him an erotic video that she believes has a more healthy depiction of sex. He responds by initiating a sexual encounter in her parked car. She persuades Jon to try masturbating without porn, but he is unable to. They begin having casual sex and she expresses the belief that he enjoys porn more than sex because he has not found a real intimate connection with a romantic partner and focuses on his own satisfaction. They grow closer, and she reveals that her husband and son died in a car accident just eighteen months prior.
Jon tells his family about the breakup with Barbara. While his parents are displeased, his sister Monica is supportive, recognizing she was dating him because she knew she could manipulate him. Jon meets with Barbara and apologizes for lying to her. They discuss her expectations, which he asserts were unattainable, and she tells him to never contact her again.
Although she is considerably older and neither has any interest in getting married, Jon and Esther begin dating, and he realizes their emotional connection allows him to experience truly satisfying sex for the first time in his life.
- 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
- Italia Ricci as Gina
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 pornography 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 pornography.
Don Jon grossed $24.5 million in North America and $16.5 million internationally, for a total worldwide gross of $41 million.
Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 80% based on 202 reviews, 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 weighted average score of 66 out of 100 based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore on its opening weekend gave Don Jon an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.
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."
|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
|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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- 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. Archived from the original on February 9, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
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- 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.
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Moore is a marvelous actress and this role is just another reason to love her.
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