Don Juan DeMarco (Johnny Depp) is only twenty-one but has decided that he has nothing left to live for. He has lost the love of his life so there is no reason to go on. However, he feels the need for one last conquest before he dies. Don Juan sees a woman sitting alone in a restaurant. She is immediately wary of him. However, it takes a matter of only a couple of minutes before she goes up to a hotel room with him. He is quite the charmer.
After his conquest, we see him on top of a billboard with the police and a crowd of people watching from below. They bring in a psychiatrist Dr. Jack Mickler (Marlon Brando) to try and talk him down. He humors Don Juan by going along with his story and introduces himself as Don Octavio del Flores (complete with an appropriate accent). Dr. Mickler manages to get him to come down.
Due to his suicide attempt Don Juan finds himself in the State Hospital for a ten-day evaluation. It just so happens that Dr. Mickler will be retiring in ten days and thinks that Don Juan would be a perfect last case. So after a lot of convincing he gets Don Juan assigned to him.
Dr. Mickler starts having sessions with Don Juan to find out more about him. He also wants to start him on meds. However, Don Juan has a different idea. He wants the ten days to prove to the doctor that he really is who he says he is. If the doctor doesn’t believe him at the end of that time he will take the meds. Don Juan starts telling him the story of his life.
Don Juan causes quite a bit of disruption at the hospital. All of the female staff are completely smitten with him and are therefore rather distracted. Dr. Mickler tries to solve the problem by assigning a rather intimidating looking, no nonsense male nurse named Rocco to him. Next thing you know Don Juan is teaching Rocco how to dance flamenco style, which leads to him moving to Madrid.
This is a charming movie, full of humor. Don Juan’s stories about his life are told in flashback sequences and are a lot of fun. Johnny is absolutely at his sexy, charismatic best in this movie. He can pull off the whole Don Juan costume thing and make it entirely believable. You also believe that he could absolutely lure any woman into bed with him. Plus Johnny and Marlon are fabulous together. You get a wonderful father and son vibe from their scenes together.
Some of my favorite quotes:
Don Juan – “I have made love to over a thousand women. I was 21 last Tuesday.”
Don Juan – “Oh well. Now I must die.”
Cop – “He wishes to end his life gloriously. He wants us to send our finest swordsman to do battle with him, preferably Don Francisco da Silva.”
Don Juan – “Pills to stop delusions? Well, then I am afraid we must take these pills together because you are severely deluded.”
Jack – “Well, what delusions have I got.”
Don Juan – “This fantasy that you are some Dr. Mickler.”
Don Juan – “It became evident from a very early age that there was something different about me.”
Don Juan – “I would say that he has a rather limited and uncreative way of looking at the situation.”
Paul – “Where’s Rocco?”
Don Juan – “Ah Rocco, he has moved to Madrid.”
Don Juan – “I still did not understand why I was required to be in drag.”
Don Juan – “Actually, I was surprised at how easily the past can be overcome.”
Don Juan – “This would have been a very good time for me to lie, but truth is a terrible habit.”
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I love how Don Juan is pulling Dr. Mickler under his spell. Don Juan’s stories are having such an impact on him and revitalizing his life.
The scene when Don Juan has to meet with the Judge to see if he will be released or admitted is so heartbreaking. You finally hear his true story and see him dressed as a normal 21 year-old. Johnny does a fantastic job; his performance is so vulnerable and honest.
It was such a sweet, uplifting ending when Dr. Mickler, his wife and Don Juan all fly to the island of Eros together. They are all living out their fantasy. As the doctor says “Don Juan’s romanticism is incurable and highly contagious”.