Beware the Dons: “Don Giovanni” in the Media

A lady’s man is both a blessing and a curse. Men who are able to get a lot of women into bed are seen as Gods amongst men to the men who do not have very high morals, but as scoundrels to women and men who happen to have a good head on their shoulders. Recently I saw the opera written by Mozart entitled “Don Giovanni.” This opera follows the life in a little longer than a day of Don Giovanni, who is a lady’s man having slept with thousands of women in many different countries, promising them the world and then leaving after he gets what he is after. The audience sees him trying to hook up with many women throughout the play; the play opens with him actually trying to rape a woman in her home while his kinsman stands watch outside. Although there are, at least in this production, many places of humor, there is a serious underlying message which becomes evident more and more as the opera goes on: people, men and women alike, do not approve and eventually plot his death. Before they have a chance to kill him, he is dragged into hell by none other than Lucifer himself after he is given the opportunity to change his ways but is far too arrogant to see what is right and change.

While I was watching this opera, even though it was greatly entertaining on its own, I couldn’t help but think about certain movies that continue in Mozart’s footsteps and try to warn men, through comedy, of the dangers of trying to be a “Don Giovanni.” A few that pop into my mind are things such as That Awkward Moment, The Sweetest Thing (although in reverse where the woman is the player, which is refreshing as it is not usually done), Good Luck, Chuck, Def Jam’s How to be a Player and even Knocked Up to a degree. But the one that plays in my mind more so than all other’s is none other than Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s 2013 Don Jon. His first full feature screenplay, it is clear he obviously knew his Mozart. Writer, director, and leading actor in his dramatic comedy, also known as a dramedy, Gordon-Levitt plays a young man who does nothing else but try to get ladies who he deems attractive into bed, with no intention of ever calling them again. Sound familiar? But much like “Don Giovanni” did as well, there was a turning point in which reality sets in and consequences of his actions soon catch up with Jon, though they are not as severe as being sentenced to an eternity of hell. This man is so like Giovanni that, like the title’s sake, his friends actually call him “The Don” throughout the entirety of the movie.

So how is it that this opera, which I honestly had never heard of before I had tickets to see it, has made such an impression on today’s media? Men and women alike know the dangers of sexual predators, and want to warn people of their dangers. Whether it be from warning men against being “that guy” who always loses in the end of these stories, or at the very least realizes that his ways are wrong and changes, or warning women against falling prey to a man like this who is most assuredly just trying to take advantage in any way that he can, it is obvious that musical, opera, television show, or movie, the people of the world have spoken: Don’t get dragged to hell, think about what you’re doing, and change.

Article by Krista Skweres

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