IMBD. PG. In Japanese with English subtitles.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011) is a documentary about renowned Japanese sushi chef Jiro Ono, his tiny 10-seat restaurant in the Tokyo subway system and his legacy as a chef and as a father in an industry beset with changes. Jiro has spent his life refining the art of sushi; his restaurant has three Michelin stars, the highest rating Michelin gives, and it can take weeks to get a reservation. When you do get in, the meal, which is a work of art, can be over in as quick as 15 minutes. Minute for minute, the narrator tells us, it's one of the most expensive meals in the world. But people keep coming.
Director David Gelb tells the story of how Jiro became so good at sushi, how he's passing on his legacy to his sons and how the sushi industry is changing with overfishing and the ubiquity of sushi as a restaurant item. He presents a man obsessed with perfection, who insists on the highest quality ingredients, preparation and training for his chefs. And he tells us about a father whose own father abandoned him and forced him out on his own at a young age, who now works closely with his own two sons to teach them everything he knows about the art and business of sushi.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a really quiet, sweet, delightful movie that's perfect for a Saturday afternoon. I streamed it on Netflix when I was home sick and it was just the perfect thing for me to watch curled up on the couch with a quilt and a cup of tea. I found Jiro and his family to be fascinating; I loved hearing about how they work together, how their relationship has grown and how the two younger men have come into their own in the shadow of their famous and very demanding father- who nonetheless obviously adores his sons. At a mere 81 minutes, it's the perfect movie when you need a little "you" time, and the next time you see sushi at the grocery store or your favorite restaurant, it might even look at it a little differently.