Single mom Juana can slice and dice anything with great speed and precision. After working at a fruit-vending cart for years, she decides to take a job at a local Japanese restaurant. Intrigued by the food, she learns to make sushi on her own. Eventually she attempts to become a sushi chef, but is unable to because she is the ‘wrong’ race and gender. Against all odds, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery.
– Written by Anonymous
Sweet, saccharin, a bit predictable – but charming and quite enjoyable.
East Side Sushi is an ode to dreams for a better life, hard work, determination, and food. Beautiful food. I don’t eat sushi, but I love to watch it made. The rhythm and precision of the sushi chefs while they assemble the beautiful rolls makes for quite a show. Then the rolls are plated with lovely flourish, ready to be enjoyed … by someone other than me.
Anthony Lucero captures this process as Juana dedicates herself to mastering the skills of traditional sushi, despite the roadblocks in her way; wrong gender, wrong ethnicity. She gets varying degrees of support, as well as resistance, from her family and co-workers. And, of course, she steers the traditional Japanese a bit off the ethnic trail by including foods more to her family’s tastes.
“East Side Sushi captures the grind and pleasure of the food industry as Juana shifts from numbing routine to a challenging cuisine.” [Village Voice]
There are a few twists & turns on the way to a mostly inevitable conclusion, but it is no less satisfying an end despite its predictability.
I believe most in my circle will enjoy this one, earning it a 4 of 5 on the Word of Mouth Scale. Be prepared for subtitles, unless you speak Spanish, English, and Japanese.
Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 100%; Audience 91%