Film: Don Jon
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Genre: Dramedy

If Don Jon were created by anyone else I would say it’s the best indie surprise of the year, but I don’t think anyone doubted the skills of Joseph Gordon-Levitt before now, and they certainly won’t after seeing this film.

People do not always think about it, but when you break down this crazy thing called existence we all experience, life is little more than a series of cycles that evolve as we grow. These are the things that matter to us. The things we do every day, or week, or month, unless something unexpected gets in their way. For Don, the character at the center of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, that cycle is his body, his pad, his ride, his family, his church, his boys, his girls, and his porn. It’s been that way as long as he can remember when we meet him, but a chance encounter with a girl he believes to be his perfect match soon threatens to turn his world upside down.

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Don Jon is a film that aims to challenge the viewer from its opening scene. The protagonist is a difficult person to love at first, and it takes accompanying him on his journey to see the good person that resides at his core. Don is not a pervert or a freak, but people in his life write him off as such because of his openness about what interests him. The truth of the matter is that he’s stuck in arrested development, and it takes the outside world challenging the lifestyle he holds dear in order for him to realize that fact himself. Once he does, Don Jon shakes the romantic comedy shackles outlined in the trailer and reaches for more. I don’t want to give it away just yet, but let’s just say the footage made available up to this point only tells you half the story.

Don Jon is not a film I would tell everyone I know to see, but it’s certainly a movie people should see if it interests them in the slightest. Porn is a touchy subject matter for a lot of people, and though it is not the focus of Don Jon it’s very easy to see how someone who takes issue with it could come to hate the entire viewing experience. If porn is not an issue for you, or if you’re simply an adult capable of handling content that may not fit into your generally accepted idea of how one should live their life, do whatever you can to make this film a part of your existence as soon as you possibly can. It’s a tale of growing up in more ways than one, and though it may have a hints of lewdness in the plot the message being conveyed could not be more universal.

Don Jon is like Annie Hall with a sex addiction – only more confident – and it just may be one of the best films you see all year.

Score: A

Review written by: James Shotwell (Follow him on Twitter)

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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