Sex Addiction in the movies: Don Jon

Anyone who has been to the theatre lately has likely noticed that sex addiction is the new hot topic for filmmakers.  Considering the increasing prevalence of this addiction in our society due in no small part to internet porn addiction, it’s a natural subject to be considered on the big screen.

Last year I saw “Shame” – a brilliant, uncomfortable, spot on psychological drama by the genius director Steve McQueen.  Shame was so well done, that my words could never do it justice.  Michael Fassbender’s performance is filled with pain, anger, sadness, fear…and of course, shame.  It is the cold, hard truth about the loneliest of addictions.  Just like McQueen’s “12 Years A Slave” it is a masterpiece.

Cut to this years stereotypical, unoriginal, sexist and repetitive “Don Jon”.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt is better than this movie.  As is Scarlett Johansson.  Essentially, Joseph plays a sex and porn addict – as a viewer you know he is an addict because there are dozens of identical scenes depicting his addict behavior (this is the repetitive part).  The stereotypes come in the New Jersey box of bad accents, pushy mothers, guido clothes and Catholics  – they should have cast The Situation, he would have been more convincing.   I am all for comedy, even about painful subjects like addiction, but unfortunately there was nothing funny in this film – especially the sexism.  To say that fantasy trumps reality for sex addicts isn’t a surprise – we get that part.  But Don Jon puts the blame for his addiction not on himself or his obvious intimacy disorder, but instead it’s put upon on the women who don’t measure up to the porn standard in the bedroom.  If his real life girlfriends could just be freaky enough in the bedroom he would surely be cured.  Enter Julianne Moore…she is older, damaged and when she sleeps with him his entire world changes.  If only it were that easy.

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