Seeing Don Jon’s Addiction at Sundance was quite an experience, in part because of all the porn. The film, written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, follows a character (played by the director) who is addicted to online pornography. Despite being able to lure very attractive women home for sex, he prefers porn. In fact, the objectification aspect of watching porn is what he likes — he gets to see the exact images he wants, with no outlay of energy or emotion on his own part.

So there’s a fair amount of porn in the movie, and clips of stuff that might be a little intense for those who don’t spend much time checking out sex on the internet.

There’s no image that, in and of itself, would result in a rating harder than an R. But the intensity of the clips is often pretty high, and there are a lot of clips. (Think of them like the repeated drug-prep scenes in Requiem For a Dream.) They’re important, and deliberately confrontational. The audience needs to see how reliant the character is on them, and how cut off from reality the images are.

But what’s in the movie now is likely too much for the MPAA, and so the cut that festival audiences are seeing now won’t be the one that people see in theaters when Relativity releases it this summer.

THR asked JGL in Berlin, via The Playlist, if he has to cut any of the porn, and the director said,

Yes, we expect we have to do that and I’ll be getting started on it as soon as I get back.

I think it is important that those images are in there but what precisely you see isn’t that important. What’s important is the rhythm of the film, the repetition of what the Don Jon character does, over and over.

This is after he said in just about every possible interview at Sundance that they’d already done a lot of zooming, cropping, and trimming of the clips to show less than what people think they’re seeing.

But the MPAA reacts just as much to tone as actual explicit content. Despite the fact that there’s no actual penetration seen in Don Jon’s Addiciton, I can’t say I’m surprised to hear that cuts will be made. I don’t think they should be made — the tone of the film as it stands now might not be for everyone, but it has a purpose, and serves that purposes well — but there was little chance of avoiding them.

 

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