Both, Scarlett and Joe made Pajiba's list of their 10 favorite SXSW performances. Sadly I can’t appreciate their assessment after Dustin Rowles' dig at ScarJo. Here is what they said:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt — Don Jon: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is getting better and better at doing what all stars have to do to succeed: he wins you over so much with his good performances (and off-screen personality) that his good movies stick with you while his bad ones fade away. (Hey there, Premium Rush fan, if you’re out there.) His feature debut as a writer and director is a stylized, insightful look at the emotional baggage of porn addiction, and he’s fantastic as the swaggering lead character, who’s so caught up in his own insecurities he can’t see how close he is to losing control. It’d be easy to just make the guy a bruiser, but Gordon-Levitt gives him real soul. — Daniel Carlson
Scarlett Johansson — Don Jon: As we know from her hosting stint on Saturday Night Live, if there’s one thing ScarJo can do, it’s a trashy Jersey (or Bronx) accent. She brings it in full in Don Jon, and her performance is wildly successful, although it’s hard to tell if it’s great actresssin’ or simply a product of great casting: She plays a super hot, super trashy emotionally detached Marilyn Monroe by way of New Jersey. There’s no depth to the character by design, which makes it a perfect role for ScarJo. — Dustin Rowles
From what I’ve seen so far, male critics seem awfully sympathetic to Joe’s character. I just hope this isn’t going to be another ‘Summer was such a bitch to poor Tom’-mess, where people are sympathetic to the guy but vilify the female character.
Seriously, this guy is an asshole at the beginning of the movie. The only reason you root for him from the start, is because it’s Joe and there is just so much goodwill for him based on his public persona and previous, more sympathetic roles. At least that was the case for me. It’s only after quite some time that the character shows some cracks in his facade and Joe’s performance hints at a softer core of the character, that you feel justified rooting for him.
Anyway, I’ve updated the review compilation post for Don Jon with Berlinale and SXSW reviews. There are a few more reviews from female critics now.