Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes his screenwriting and directorial debut in the upcoming Don Jon, a film in which he also stars and has received almost universal praise from critics thus far. Co-starring Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore and Tony Danza, the story of love, life and masturbation is being hailed as masterstroke by some, as JGL's first time behind the camera is earning him praise as a natural-born filmmaker.

Don Jon
JGL stars alongside Scarlett Johansson in Don Jon

Gordon-Levitt stars Jon 'Don Jon' Martello, a handsome, fashionable and some may say a little self obsessed twenty-something guy. His numerous exploits with women, and his apparent ability to land any girl, earned him the nickname 'Don Jon,' yet in spite of his prowess with women, nothing quite matches the joy he gets from working out. That is except for his love of internet pornography and masturbation. When he meets young romantic Barbara Sugarman (Johansson), Jon may have found what he's been loving for all his life, as he and Barbara attempt to balance their traditionalist expectations of love, with their own infatuations with their modern, media-driven lives.

For a directorial and screenwriting debut, JGL has immediately dived into the deep end and tackled a subject hardly mentioned on the big screen, however the majority of critics have agreed that the budding filmmaker has created a seriously good film that is made all the better by it's comic undertones. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly describes Gordon-Levitt as a "natural filmmaker" and credits him for making a "highly amusing" film. Associated Press critic Jake Coyle also credits JGL's natural and "considerable talents" in what is "a lark, but an enjoyable one with a full-hearted finale."

Check out the Don Jon trailer

Crediting his "self-assured" filming style, Variety's Peter Debruge has described the film as "satiric" and with "a disarmingly sincere human center," whilst Village Voice critic Stephanie Zacharek commented, "even when his story starts getting serious, Gordon-Levitt always keeps it funny, and his cast is in on the joke."

The reviews haven't been unanimously positive though, with The New York Observer critic Rex Reed admitting that although Gordon-Levitt can act, and he may very well be able to direct too, there is no evidence of him doing them both at the same time in Don Jon. Time Out's Keith Uhlich was also left unimpressed by his filmmaking debut, commenting that the 'message' of the film is unclear, as it ends up "merely... trading one beefcake delusion for another."

Don Jon hits cinemas on 15 November.