He is a porn addict who has tailored his life around an unbreakable routine. He has no problem relishing in the success of his pattern, as it is styled to his liking and no woman has ever broken it. No person has ever questioned it. Jon Martello (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) only cares about a few things in this world. He’s made a mantra of those very things: “My body, my pad, my ride, my family, my church, my boys, my girls, and my porn.” It may seem unorthodox that a grown man would be so comfortable living life in such a shallow manner, but the strangest part about Jon Martello is his commitment to his mantra. His mantra is all he knows; his mantra makes up who he fundamentally is.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut can only be summed up in two words — distinct and strange. Committed couples looking for a romantic movie night will be in for a rude awakening ten minutes into the movie. “Don Jon” is the opposite of every romance movie your overly emotional friend cried to during sophomore year of high school. The movie is introduced with Jon Martello professing his love for masturbation leaving no detail unmentioned. If that’s not enough to kill the love bug crawling up any smitten teenager, the rest of the movie (except for a very romantic 20-30 minutes) is exactly the same. Levitt’s directorial debut is sure to offer a couple their first awkward moment. There are also routine confessions at church where he repents for the exact amount of sex and masturbation he has indulged in. Surprisingly enough, any moviegoer will be fascinated as Jon Martello’s routine begins to alter.
Jon Martello falls in love with Barbara Sugarman (Scarlett Johansson), a strong, beautiful and feisty woman. Sugarman holds Jon to “unimaginable” standards he’s never been required to meet. He even had to take her out on a date. She gives him his first taste of rejection after a long time of an uninterrupted girl per week hookup regimen. Jon later begins to realize how much of himself he has compromised for love. His routine is involuntarily altered, or rather “voluntarily” altered out of love. It isn’t very long until Martello’s love for who he previously was is challenged by his love for Barbara (and the standards she simultaneously upholds him to).
Believe it or not, there is something strangely romantic about the ending of the film. No viewer will be able to accurately guess what happens to Martello and Sugarman’s relationship. It’s hard to rate the movie because there are moments which leave you lost for words. The movie is so believable; you will leave convinced there is a Jon Martello in the world. Unfortunately, hopeless romantics will be largely disappointed because of their belief in picture-perfect amour. Others might be amused. The rest will leave pondering whether they enjoyed the movie or not.