It’s another Cathy picks the movie night and I was understandably apprehensive. East Side Sushi was another randomly chosen film from HBO on Demand. I’d never heard of it before she picked it and I had no expectations. However, I ended up really enjoying this film a lot. I give East Side Sushi the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.
Juana (Diana Elizabeth Torres) is a single mom and an excellent cook. She’s resigned to running a fruit-vending cart but after she’s robbed she decides it’s time for a change. She gets the job working in the back of a local Japanese restaurant. She soon becomes obsessed with becoming a sushi chef and sets off on a path not walked by many latina women.
This film is extremely indie and a lot of the cast are newcomers. This is Anthony Lucero’s is the writer and makes his directorial debut. The film is such a small story and I found Juana to be such an endearing character. She has a tough life but not an over the top movie tough life. She’s extremely relatable. A single mom living with her dad and trying to make enough money to take care of her family. She has always sacrificed for her family, but she finally has found something she wants to pursue.
Diana Elizabeth Torres plays a great character
Diana Elizabeth Torres plays the role of Juana very naturalistically. The chemistry she has with Yutaka Takeuchi, who plays Aki, is in the same vein. I expected this to be a fish out of water story, and at it’s roots it is, but Aki was not the character I expected. For the most part, the staff of the Japanese restaurant are accepting of her and there is never any crazy arguing. It’s just such a heartfelt movie, a loving story about passion and overcoming expectations. It definitely connected with me and I enjoyed it.
I love finding films like these. They often get discussed on podcasts that I listen to or now from studios I trust with independent films. I’m really glad that Cathy picked this movie even though she ended up leaving before it was over. If you get a chance to watch this film I definitely recommend it.