Don Jon

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Don Jon Movie Poster Image
Irreverent romcom about porn is insightful but very graphic.
  • R
  • 2013
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

It's never too late to start over, to figure yourself out, or to recover from the horrors of life (or our mind-numbing, soul-crushing proclivities). Also, pay attention to how you're being treated; what seems like love may just be selfishness.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jon is a brawny, crass guy with a major problem objectifying women. (The same goes for his friends.) But he's seeking higher ground, and we admire him for it. Esther is open-minded and honest.

Violence

A man punches the window of a car in rage, smashing it to bits and hurting his hand. He's also an angry driver who cusses out anyone who gets in his way.

Sex

Tons of sex throughout the movie, in all sorts of positions; although viewers don't actually see genitalia, they see everything else, especially in many clips from actual porn videos. One character masturbates many times a day; again, viewers don't see his penis, but it's clear what he's doing.

Language

Very frequent strong language includes a ton of uses of "f--k," plus "a--hole," "s--t," "bitch," "p---y," "c--k," "t-ts," "ass," "damn," "hell," "oh my God," "goddamn," and more. Also, a slur word is used once.

Consumerism

Camaro, iPhones, Martinelli's, Coke, Diet Coke, TiVo, Budweiser, and more are shown/mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some drinking, mostly in bars, dance clubs, and restaurants. A woman lights up a joint after sex.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Don Jon is about a guy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who's addicted to porn, which means it has lots of montages from X-rated movies. No genitalia are shown, but you'll see plenty of naked breasts, graphic sex scenes (with genitals obscured), moaning, groaning, people in all sorts of positions, and implied masturbation. There's tons of swearing/crude language, too (including "f--k" and "s--t"), and one scene in which a character smokes weed. All of that said, mature viewers can still learn something from the movie, including that pornography can shape the way people/society views women and of sex -- and that it can get in the way of true intimacy. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKitKatKaity February 8, 2014

Mindless Sex

This film is so explicit as to make grown adults cringe. It's a pointless look at a man who is addicted to some awful things, a man who is not ashamed of h... Continue reading
Adult Written byMatt B. October 25, 2015

Good sex movie

This is a movie intended for adults. It has sex scenes and they guy watches porn but nothing explicit is shown.
Teen, 15 years old Written byStevie111 September 30, 2013

Expecting stellar, dissapointing, but still pretty funny

Graphic sexuality and porn throughout, with language and drug use. It is a bit dramatic, and personally I disliked the ending
Teen, 13 years old Written byBradleyWeiss September 28, 2013

Don Jon :)

This movie has a MAJOR amount of graphic sexual content. Director Joseph Gordon-Levitt shows clips from pornographic video's. They were cut in order for th... Continue reading

What's the story?

Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) doesn't want for much. He makes lots of money as a bartender, he beds a different woman nearly every night, and he has loyal friends. He also watches porn every day, sometimes many times a day, pleasuring himself as he watches. And to him, this isn't a liability, but a virtue. After all, what more could a guy ask for? But it's not enough. No matter how hot Jon's encounters get, nothing compares to the bliss he gets from porn. And he wishes that weren't the case. Enter Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), a dime -- aka a "10" on Jon and his friends' scale -- he spots at the bar. He falls headlong in lust, and then in love, which pleases his mother (Glenne Headly), who wants grandkids, and his father (Tony Danza), who appreciates Barbara's looks. Still, Jon can't shake the porn habit, something Esther (Julianne Moore), an older woman who's his classmate at night school, makes him analyze. Is it an addiction? And if so, what does that mean?

Is it any good?

DON JON is a delight. Who'd expect a movie about a porn addict to be so uplifting? But it really is, gently introducing a different point of view about love, sex, and romance than the audience is initially led to believe. It's stealth self-help, in the best way. Gordon-Levitt, who reveals a crushing vulnerability in Jon at key moments on which the storyline pivots, makes him both likeable and understandable. Johansson is fierce in the best way, and although Brie Larson, who plays Jon's sister, doesn't have a lot of lines, when she does, they're left ringing in Jon's (and our) ears.

Perhaps the one wrinkle in the movie's polished storytelling is a certain relentlessness to the way that Jon's porn obsession is told. It mimics the porn to which Jon is addicted. Clips are shown over and over and over again, perhaps to drive home the fact that what he has really is an addiction, a compulsion. But after the fifth, sixth, seventh montage of porn-watching and self-pleasuring, enough already. We get it. He has a problem. Gordon-Levitt, who's also the film's director, displays such a creative, light touch elsewhere that this heavy-handedness is even more deeply felt. But he gets a pass this time. Don Jon is too good to be ignored.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Don Jon depicts sex and relationships. What connection do sex and intimacy have in the movie? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values on these topics.

  • What makes Jon's habits an addiction? How does it get in his way? How does it compare to other kinds of addiction?

  • Talk about pornography's appeal -- and reach. Does the film capture the casualness with which people view porn? What do you think of this stance?

Movie details

For kids who love romance

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