East Side Sushi

East Side Sushi ★★★½

I’ll happily admit that it’s probably getting an extra half a star because I used to work at a sushi restaurant and they nailed the little details. Even the way the Asian staff butchered Juana’s name - Juana/Julio, same thing. 

But there’s more to this movie that my nostalgic recognition of sushi bar tropes (the owner of the place I worked at was a sexist asshole too!) It may be a crowd-pleaser with little in the way of surprises - except for when it does surprise you with a suddenly relevant and touching speech about what it’s like to be a Latino in the food industry. Or when it wisely keeps any potential romance subplots from taking over the movie. Or when it knows just the right amount of child-actor-cuteness to dole out. 

It mostly gets by on charm, of course. And on how well developed, how specific, its world is. A world full of minorities trying to make it in the big ol’ U S of A. It’s refreshing.