It seems like Don Jon has a one way ticket to the independent spirit awards.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt proves himself to be a natural filmmaker with his debut Don Jon, which critics agree tells a funny and engaging story, though isn't the complete movie that many perhaps naively expected from the Dark Knight actor.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt [L] as Jon and Scarlett Johansson [R] as Barbara in 'Don Jon'
Gordon-Levitt also plays the lead, Jon Martello, a strong, handsome guy who has no problem with the ladies. However, not even the most beautiful women in the bar can compete with the bliss he feels in his own bedroom, watching pornography. He meets a bright and pretty girl named Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) who is determined to find Prince Charming and ride off into the sunset. Of course, things begin to go awry when Barbara discovers Don's unsavoury secret.
The movie scored strong reviews when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and critics reaffirmed its credentials at the Toronto International Film Festival this month.
"Gordon-Levitt proves a natural filmmaker, nimbly staging Jon's highly amusing Catholic confessions, along with porn montages that mimic the dopamine-charged editing of Requiem for a Dream," said Entertainment Weekly.
The Don Jon Family Have Dinner
"This is a sweet, lively and funny movie rather than a fully realized one, but it makes clear that Gordon-Levitt has a natural feeling for cinema and should do more of it," said Salon.com.
"The self-assured helmer shows genuine affection for his characters, balancing their openly satiric qualities with a disarmingly sincere human center," continued Variety.
"Even when his story starts getting serious, Gordon-Levitt always keeps it funny, and his cast is in on the joke," added the Village Voice.
Rex Reed of the New York Observer was one of the more prominent critics of the movie, writing, "[Gordon-Levitt] can act, and there's a possibility he can also direct, but there's no evidence in Don Jon that he can do both at the same time." The remarks are interesting, given Gordon-Levitt has spoken of the advice he ignored from Christopher Nolan, who attempting to warn him off directing and acting.
Barbara [R] Eyes Up Some Guys In The Club
"I told Chris Nolan that I was going to direct a movie and he was instantly supportive, which meant a lot to me. He said, "It seems like you would be good at that." I told him I was going to act and direct at the same time and he was like, "Are you sure you want to do that?," the actor told the Huffington Post this year.
"So, he wasn't just like, "Do whatever you want." He was like, "Are you sure you want to do that your first time?" I said I really do and he was like, "OK, but I'm raising my hand now and saying that you might want to think about that. That's a whole extra challenge that you maybe want to do your second time."
Don Jon boasts a very solid supporting cast including Brie Larson, Julianne Moore and Tony Danza. It hits theaters in the U.S. on Friday (September 27, 2013).