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archive: “Don Jon” takes on taboos
Questions to Consider:
- Do the characters’ thoughts and behavior seem true based on your own experience?
- How does humor play a role in helping the story get across to viewers?
- How do our views of what love is supposed to be affect the way we treat others?
- How does Jon’s addiction affect the other parts of his life?
- How do Barbara’s views on love affect her relationship with Jon?
What We Think:
The movie “Don Jon,” written and directed by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, confronts the idea of media culture versus reality in an enjoyable, funny way. It does a beautiful job of highlighting the difference between an idealized view of love and intimacy (adult entertainment, romantic comedies), and the troubles that happen between two people when their assumptions and beliefs don’t play out in the real world. Gordon-Levitt plays Jon, a meathead dude from New Jersey who’s really into a few things, including watching a LOT of porn on the Internet. Scarlett Johanssen kills it in this role as Barbara, who has her own views on love. Although it tackles a subject many heterosexual women may not want to face — their male partners’ interest in and sometimes addiction to pornography — this movie also made me look at straight women’s own interest in romance and whether it’s real or whether it needs some… adjustment. We’re calling it the “best media-literacy movie of the year”, as if that’s a real category. — Jennifer Berger
Where We Saw It
Sundance Kabuki Theater, San Francisco, California
Friday October 17, 2013 (theatrical release Sept 27, 2013)