Film Review: Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a lovely movie. It’s about an 85 year old sushi chef who owns the only 10 seat sushi restaurant in the world to be given 3 Michelin stars. More importantly though, the film is about a lifelong quest for perfection in this food art.

I don’t eat sushi, so when I saw all the food being prepared my thought wasn’t, oh that looks delicious, but more about how beautiful it looks.

Some of the very rare tuna (toro, in Japanese) is a gorgeous shade of transluscent ruby red, glistening with the veneer of soy sauce applied just before the patron consumes their meal. If it wasn’t food, you might think it was a precious jewel sitting atop a perfectly formed piece of rice to support it.

The movie also gives us a look into Jiro’s family, his relationship with his two sons, the younger of whom left to open his own restaurant years ago, and the elder son, now 50 years old and who has worked for his father since he was 19, and will inherit the business when Jiro retires or passes away.

This movie is incredibly zen. Jiro’s pursuit of sushi perfection has made him strict in his daily routine, and he never takes a day off (except national holidays.) He does the same things ever day, day after day, and has done so for 75 years.

I’d recommend anyone see this movie if they enjoy watching an artisan who has achieved a level of mastery very few, if any, have done.


5 Responses

  1. If you like foodie / Japanese movies – another good one is Tanpopo. A comedy about a woman’s quixotic quest to make the best bowl of ramen soup ever. Featuring yakuza gangsters and a singing chorus of homeless folks and a trucker. Good stuff.

    • Cool, thanks Court. Interestingly, chef David Chang had made a public recommendation for this film which got me interested… the same David Chang made famous for his ramen!

      Have you seen Jiro Dreams of Sushi yourself? I know you spent some time in … was it Tokyo? So, this might be a nostalgic trip back for you…

      • I haven’t seen it, no. I’ll put it on the list. I lived in Japan for 4 years, in Tokyo for 2 of them, so it sounds like good stuff.

        • Yes, it is good stuff. More than anything, you will appreciate the zen-nature of the film, I think.

          Aha, I thought I remembered that right. 4 years in Japan sounds pretty amazing actually… other than Tokyo, where did you live?

  2. I would care to see how is the relationship to of the familty towards the patriarch and what he gets from being a master sushi maker. I am not sure if the story covers this topic but some ethnic short films have a very interesting approach to life more real than reality TV.

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