Posted in movie review, theology

Movie Review: East Side Sushi

By Elizabeth Prata

I found the needle in the haystack.

East Side Sushi

Doesn’t it seem that way, looking for a family friendly movie? You want good production values, well-written script, well-acted scenes, and interesting? For every ten hours I spend looking researching, and trying to find a movie, I might find one movie that fits those requirements.

As I grow in sanctification, there’s a lot that bothers me. Foul language, cleavage, tight jeans on men or women, sex scenes, drinking, adultery…all that and more. But most movies and television shows not only contain those things, they glory in them (Romans 1:32). Sometimes it takes all the time I have to find something suitable to watch but by then my limited leisure time is used up!

I was glad to have found East Side Sushi.

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 a multitude of 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, determined to not let anyone stop her from achieving her dream.

When Juana is robbed at gunpoint and the entire day’s earnings is stolen, she realizes that her job has become too dangerous, too dead end, and too unwieldy. She must get her daughter out of bed in at 4 am, and her aging father is struggling to keep up the pace as her co-vendor/helper. She applies at various Mexican restaurants, but the only opening (with medical benefits) is at the Osaka sushi restaurant. So her journey begins.

Juana is entranced by the precision of Japanese cooking, the appearance of the restaurant, and the complexity of sushi. Initially content to put her copious knife skills to work behind the scenes in the kitchen prepping the sushi vegetables and other ingredients, she soon tries her hand at home with actual sushi, practicing and presenting Japanese dinners – much to her father’s Latino chagrin. Juana has found her calling and wants more from her work at Osaka.

I enjoyed the relationship Juana has with her father. Juana is ambitious but respectful of her dad. She is also respectful in the restaurant with the head sushi chef (who trains her and admires her skills), and with the owner, who visits his restaurant several times per week.

In the movie there is no inappropriate dress, no foul language that I heard or saw (part of the movie is in subtitles), no sex or any inappropriate touching, or anything I personally consider objectionable. Your mileage may vary. Use your own discernment.

Free on IMdB Freedive.

You might also like:

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (in Japanese with subtitles)


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

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