Don Jon

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Don Jon
Against a grey background, three squares with the faces of a smiling young man, and red-haired woman, and shown horizontally the face of a blonde woman.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoseph Gordon-Levitt
Written byJoseph Gordon-Levitt
Produced byRam Bergman
CinematographyThomas Kloss
Edited byLauren Zuckerman
Music byNathan Johnson
Distributed byRelativity Media[1]
Release dates
  • January 18, 2013 (2013-01-18) (Sundance)
  • September 27, 2013 (2013-09-27) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$7.5 million[3][4]
Box office$41.3 million[4]

Don Jon is a 2013 American romantic comedy-drama film[5] 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[6][7] at the Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2013,[8] and was released in the United States on September 27, 2013. The film grossed $41 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews from critics.


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, a beautiful 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, discovering he is still watching porn, 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 fourteen 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.



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.[9]

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.[10]

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.[11]


Box office[edit]

Don Jon grossed $24.5 million in North America and $16.5 million internationally, for a total worldwide gross of $41 million.[4]

Critical response[edit]

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."[12] Metacritic gives a weighted average score of 66 out of 100 based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[13] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore on its opening weekend gave Don Jon an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.[14][15]

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."[16] William Goss of praised Gordon-Levitt for his "assured style" as both director and screenwriter.[17] Edward Douglas of gave high praise to the screenplay.[18] 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.[19]

The supporting actresses Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore received praise for their performances.[20][21] 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."[22]


Award Category Subject Result
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
Dylan O'Neil
Sohini Sengupta
Mark Woolen & Associates
Gotham Award Best Actress Scarlett Johansson Nominated
IGN Summer Movie Awards Best Comedy Film Nominated
Independent Spirit Award Best First Screenplay[23] Joseph Gordon-Levitt Nominated
Jupiter Award Best International Actor Nominated
Key Art Award Best Trailer—Audio/Visual J.D. Funari
Dylan O'Neil
Sohini Sengupta
Mark Woolen & Associates
2nd place
MTV Movie Award Best Kiss Scarlett Johansson Nominated
Joseph Gordon-Levitt 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

Home media[edit]

Don Jon was released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 31, 2013 (New Year's Eve).[24] By June 2014, over two million copies of the Blu-ray were sold.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (January 21, 2013). "Sundance Deal Precedent: Relativity Media Pact For Joseph Gordon-Levitt-Helmed Comedy 'Don Jon: $4 Mill Upfront, $25 Million P&A For Summer Release". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Archived from the original on March 19, 2021. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
  2. ^ "DON JON (18)". British Board of Film Classification. July 26, 2013. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  3. ^ "Don Jon". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Archived from the original on March 19, 2021. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Don Jon (2013)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Archived from the original on March 19, 2021. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  5. ^ Macnab, Geoffrey (November 14, 2013). "Film review: Don Jon - a romantic comedy in which the male lead is obsessed with porn". The Independent. Archived from the original on March 19, 2021. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  6. ^ Davis, Edward (March 8, 2013). "The Addiction Dropped: Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Directorial Debut Becomes 'Don Jon'; Plus Four New Photos". IndieWire. Archived from the original on March 19, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  7. ^ Erbland, Kate (January 23, 2014). "12 Sundance Films That Were Re-Edited or Retitled After Their Festival Premieres". MTV News. Archived from the original on March 19, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  8. ^ Miller, Daniel (December 3, 2012). "Sundance 2013: Festival Unveils 2 Star-Studded Noncompetition Categories". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 4, 2012.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Gordon-Levitt, Joseph (January 21, 2013). "hitRECordJoe, EXCITING NEWS! :oD". HitRecord. Tumblr. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "Don Jon (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Archived from the original on February 9, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  13. ^ "Don Jon Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on July 2, 2017. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Cagle, Jess (February 8, 2013). "Editor's Note: Feb. 8 2013". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Archived from the original on March 19, 2021. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  17. ^ Goss, William (January 24, 2013). "Review: 'Don Jon'". MTV Networks. Archived from the original on June 10, 2015. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  18. ^ Douglas, Edward (September 16, 2013). "Don Jon Review". Mandatory. Archived from the original on March 19, 2021. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  19. ^ Henderson, Odie (September 27, 2013). "Don Jon". Ebert Digital LLC. Archived from the original on March 19, 2021. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  20. ^ Hoffman, Jordan (January 21, 2013). "'Don Jon's Addiction' Review". ScreenCrush. Archived from the original on March 19, 2021. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  21. ^ Whale, Chase (January 19, 2013). "Sundance 2013 Review: DON JON'S ADDICTION Bulks Up the Body and Career of Joseph Gordon-Levitt". Screen Anarchy. Archived from the original on March 19, 2021. Retrieved August 22, 2018. Moore is a marvelous actress and this role is just another reason to love her.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Atkinson, Katie (March 1, 2014). "Independent Spirit Awards 2014: The winners list". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Archived from the original on March 2, 2014. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  24. ^ Kauffmann, Jeremy (January 8, 2014). "Don Jon Blu-ray". Archived from the original on March 19, 2021. Retrieved August 22, 2018.

External links[edit]