'Don Jon' & 'Lovelace': Two Films That Show The Truth About Porn (For A Change)
We all know the porn industry has been around a while. However, as we’ve all seen, with the prominence of high speed internet and the amazing advances in modern technology, we are seeing porn become a part of our society like never before.
Knowing this, it’s no wonder that mainstream Hollywood is now starting to jump in on the issue, coming out with movies about porn and its industry, showing a less glamorous version than may have been portrayed in previous films in previous eras.
We notice these things at Fight the New Drug, so it caught our attention when two films about porn and the porn industry went to theaters within less than one month of each other in late 2013: Lovelace and Don Jon.
After seeing both of these movies and realizing that Hollywood was finally starting to show the true side of the shady porn industry, we knew that they would help to show people just how unattractive porn really is.
In August of 2013, Lovelace, an independent film first debuted at Sundance Film Festival, was released to theaters. The movie is based on the true story of Linda Lovelace, the first major porn star who starred in the first major porn film.
Lovelace, tells the tale of Linda “Lovelace” Boreman’s entrance into the porn industry and depicts her relationship with Chuck Traynor, her abusive and controlling husband/producer/manager/pimp. According to Boreman and others, Traynor was the one responsible for manipulating and victimizing her into the porn industry, as well as prostitution.
From Linda Boreman’s own biography, Ordeal, she wrote:
When in response to his suggestions I let him know I would not become involved in prostitution in any way and told him I intended to leave, [Traynor] beat me up physically and the constant mental abuse began. I literally became a prisoner, I was not allowed out of his sight, not even to use the bathroom, where he watched me through a hole in the door. He slept on top of me at night, he listened to my telephone calls with a .45 automatic eight shot pointed at me. I was beaten physically and suffered mental abuse each and every day thereafter. He undermined my ties with other people and forced me to marry him on advice from his lawyer.
My initiation into prostitution was…arranged by Mr. Traynor. It was the turning point in my life. He threatened to shoot me with the pistol if I didn’t go through with it. I have never been so frightened and disgraced and humiliated in my life. I felt like garbage. I engaged in sex acts for pornography against my will to avoid being killed… The lives of my family were threatened.
The film shows the naive Boreman, briefly enjoying the attention and the spotlight put on her after the success of her first film, but soon spiraling downward after being used and abused by the porn industry and her husband, whom she eventually divorced.
Lovelace is the first major film in recent memory to show a real life story from the dark and ruthless porn industry, and the effects it had on Linda Boreman. Linda, who passed away in 2002, went on to be an anti-pornography spokesperson, telling her story of being coerced and threatened into the porn industry and the abuse she suffered while a part of it.
One month after the release of Lovelace, Hollywood superstar Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut hit theaters. The widely released Don Jon, was the topic of much discussion in the media.
A lot of hype surrounded the movie, not necessarily because it was Gordon-Levitt’s first screenplay, but because it was about porn. The media described it as a movie simply about porn and a lot of people probably went and saw it because it was about porn. However, after seeing the movie, many realized what it was actually about: love, relationships, and false depictions of both in porn.
The movie stars Gordon-Levitt as Jon, a good looking, macho man who has no trouble with the ladies. However, he finds that regardless of all the beautiful women that he meets, and even after getting into a relationship with his dream girl, played by Scarlet Johannson, he realizes he is severely addicted to internet porn and openly admits that he prefers it to real sex with real women.
By the end of the movie, Jon’s eyes are opened to real love and real beauty, and sees porn for what it really is.
In an interview talking about his character in the movie and the message of the film, Gordon-Levitt said:
"Everything in Jon’s life is sort of a one-way street. He is not connecting or engaging with anyone. That goes for the women in his life…It’s an item on a checklist. He doesn’t listen; he just takes. At the beginning of the movie, he is finding that dissatisfying because there’s the sequence where he brings a young lady home from the bar and he is comparing her to this checklist that he has gotten off of what he likes to see in a pornography video. Obviously, a real human being is not going to map onto that because there is a fundamental difference between a human being and an image on a screen."
While we don’t recommend that anyone under 17 see Don Jon due to the large amount of sexual content in the movie, the film pretty much depicts perfectly what we try to tell people every day at Fight the New Drug: porn is addictive and it harms relationships by totally skewing your perceptions of love and intimacy.
Spreading The Word
With movies like this on the public conscience, reaching millions of people in theaters all across the country, there is no better time to start talking about the issue of porn and how it harms individuals, relationships, and society as a whole.
The porn industry is one that chews people up and spits them out, all for the sake of making a dollar. Lives are ruined. Relationships are destroyed. And society suffers due to the promotion of unhealthy and unnatural attitudes about sex.
You don’t have to be a Hollywood movie star or film producer to make a difference in this movement. Every single one of you Fighters who wears a ‘Porn Kills Love’ shirt, or wears a FTND wristband, or shares these articles on Facebook, is making a difference.
Just as porn is becoming more and more prominent, the issue of fighting it and educating people on its harmful effects is finally starting to reach society as well.