Don Jon (2013) – Redemption of a Porn Addict

 

 

Don Jon

 

Movies about porn industry aren’t new to us. We’ve ‘Boogie Nights’ that takes a look at the boom of the porno industry in the 80s, for example. There are quite a handful of movies that deal with this subject. Most of the movies thematically have a collective approach, where the plot is set around the entire industry the people working in it. But we don’t get to see the impact of viewing pornography on the social life of an individual on a mainstream cinema. Don Jon takes a route by passed so far.

Joseph Gordon- Levitt , whom we saw in more memorable biggies like Inception, has written and worn the director’s hat for Don Jon. Jon (Levitt) is a guy who always hangs around with his two friends flirting and courting girls in bars and pubs. Mostly his attempts are fruitful. As an orthodox Christian who never misses his Sunday services and his confessions, lives with a happy family- a crazy sports fan father, a loving mother who always insists him to find the right girl for him and a n ever texting sis- no complaints. In spite of his human companies there is one thing he is never able to come out of; his world of ultimate escape- watching porn. Though he is lucky to have many partners for real, nothing else gratfies his fantasies more than porn.

 

Don Jon 2

 

Everything goes as per his routine until he sees the love of his life the gorgeous Barbara (Scarlet Johnson) with whom he hooks instantly. His life seems to take a sharp turn post her arrival into his life. Lot of things changes in life, getting back to school, dating with her, parents nodding on both sides, everything except, watching porn. Ultimately it becomes the sole reason for their break up.

In the class he meets Esther (Julianne Moore), a fellow pupil and a widow, elder than him. Liked by none in the class she often creates opportunities to talk with Jon. The void created by the break up with Barbara and the difference in Esther’s approach that never hurts his privacy draws Jon to her. It is with her he understands what sexual relationship is all about and finds in her his soul mate.

 

Don Jon 4

 

Firstly Don Jon isn’t preachy. It shows great interest in showing how viewing porn redesigns ones life and over time becomes an inescapable trap. Jon is a ‘pathological type’ and no where in the film his deeds are justified. This might be because the entire story unfolds from his perspective, told often from the first person narrative.

The movie narrows down to look upon the effects of porn viewing on the psychic poise of a man. Porn is undeniably male centered. The glamorous fantasies that it generates around itself take a regular viewer of the worldly realities. This seriously affects the real sexual life of a porn addict, for him every time he beds a woman he attempts to duplicate his viewing experiences of the past. This leaves him an ever dissatisfied being in his sexual life, jeopardizing his partner as well.

The film also satirically looks at the confession in Christian belief. When he wonder no matter what lists of sins he confesses of doing every Sunday, the prayers he is suggest to say are always the same and asks it out to the priest, he only receives ‘ Have faith son’ as the reply.

Porn peels off the wonder in sexual relationships and makes it more mechanical and lifeless. Porn turns a female body into a commodity and creates a virtual reality for the male viewers, supplying loads of false interpretations about woman. This seriously affects the relationships at various levels, more seriously and irreparably some times.

The essence of the film is when Esther casually asks about the reason for his porn addiction. Jon replies,’ I lose myself while watching it.’ ‘So have you never lost yourself in real sex, not once?’ she enquires. His answer is negative. On a fine moment she tells him sex is not one sided, the act in which two souls are involved always. Losing oneself in other is the essence of sex life. That’s the revelation for Jon and the viewer like.

 

Don Jon 1

 

Levitt as director carefully designs visuals, which thematically focuses on explicit content and therefore demands showing it up. But showing more of it would deviate from the original intention of the movie. Hence he manages with fast paced montages such that it only sets the theme and not clings to the visuals for long. Don Jon is the story of a spoiled youth’s reinvention of self. Besides it takes a good look at the male-female relationships with all its self centeredness and egoistic frictions.

 

 

 

You may also like...