Jiro Dreams of Sushi: movie review

This film Jiro dreams of Sushi models itself on its subject, a legendary sushi chef at Tokyo’s Sukiyabashi Jiro. Both the movie, and Jiro, are methodical, patient, simple, enigmatic and inspiring.

I enjoyed the film primarily as a meditation on work and living a life dedicate to perfecting a skill. Jiro is 85 years old, and has been making sushi for decades. He came to become a chef on his own terms, without support from his family. The film centers on his sushi restaurants, and how they prepare and serve food.

There are tangents into his life and the lives of his two sons (also sushi chefs), which reveal much about their collective approaches to life. It’s a simple film, just as the methods Jiro employs are simple. But in both cases that simplicity allows for great care to be put into every little decision. Sukiyabashi Jiro is one of the few restaurants in the world with a Michelin 3 star rating.

The film helped me ask myself several important questions:

  • How do you know you have the right priorities?
  • Why does craft matter? How much of your life should you put into your craft?
  • What does work / life balance mean? Is that even the right dichotomy?
  • Is excellence more important than pleasure?
  • Are each these people happy? Are they fulfilled? Why? Why not? How can I know?
  • Where do I see craft of this level of skill around me in my world?

If you like any of these questions, and like sushi or craft, you’ll find the film of interest. It’s a meditative and beautiful film, with many moments without dialog as you watch work being done, providing plenty of space to fill with your own thoughts, and perhaps, your own dreams.

It’s an independent film, and you can find where it’s playing near you here.

4 Responses to “Jiro Dreams of Sushi: movie review”

  1. Thomas Duff

    I saw the film this weekend and thought much the same as you did. It was inspiring to see how someone who has elevated his craft to a level not seen before, still aspires to a level of perfection he feels he has not attained.

  2. Kathy Sierra

    I am REALLY looking forward to seeing this. First heard about when Hugh McLeod started raving about it in the context of how the concept of “mastery” seems to be slipping today.

    Thanks for the review and the thoughtful questions.


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