Don Jon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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
Produced byRam Bergman
Written byJoseph Gordon-Levitt
Music byNathan Johnson
CinematographyThomas Kloss
Edited byLauren Zuckerman
Distributed byRelativity Media[1]
Release date
  • 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$61.3 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 had its wide release in the United States on September 27, 2013.[4]


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 finds her 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 porn 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 reveals that her husband and son died in a car accident. 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 thinks he is more satisfied with watching than having sex because pornography is a one-sided affair. If Jon wants to lose himself, it must be to another person, a mutual experience. With her, Jon forms an emotional sexual connection.

Jon tells his family about the break-up with Barbara. While his parents are displeased, his sister Monica isn't because 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. She tells him to never contact her again.

Jon begins dating Esther. Although 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.



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]


Critical response[edit]

Don Jon received generally positive reviews from critics, with most giving praise to the lead performances, especially Gordon-Levitt's. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 79% based on reviews from 199 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".[12] Metacritic gives a score of 66 out of 100 based on reviews from 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[13] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore on the opening weekend gave Don Jon a "C+" grade 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 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]

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]


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. 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. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d "Don Jon (2013)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. 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. 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. 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. 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. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  13. ^ "Don Jon Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. 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. 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. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  19. ^ Henderson, Odie (September 27, 2013). "Don Jon". Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  20. ^ Hoffman, Jordan (January 21, 2013). "'Don Jon's Addiction' Review". ScreenCrush. 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. 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. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  24. ^ Kauffmann, Jeremy (January 8, 2014). "Don Jon Blu-ray". Retrieved August 22, 2018.

External links[edit]