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77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 40 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Jiro Dreams of Sushi is the story of 85 year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious 3 star Michelin review, and sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimage, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro’s sushi bar. For most of his life, Jiro has been mastering the art of making sushi, but even at his age he sees himself still striving for perfection, working from sunrise to well beyond sunset to taste every piece of fish; meticulously train his employees; and carefully mold and finesse the impeccable presentation of each sushi creation. At the heart of this story is Jiro’s relationship with his eldest son Yoshikazu, the worthy heir to Jiro’s legacy, who is unable to live up to his full potential in his father’s shadow. (Magnolia Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Mar 6, 2012
    100
    A dream, indeed. Sure to delight foodies and cinephiles alike.
  2. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Apr 5, 2012
    88
    We meet a variety of interdependent characters, from tuna vendors to rice experts, all in thrall to Jiro and his sons. I really wish Tokyo were closer.
  3. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Mar 22, 2012
    83
    Beautiful, thoughtful and engrossing.
  4. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Mar 16, 2012
    75
    As a young man he dreamed of racing cars. Now he rides a bicycle to the market each day, to negotiate with an elite fraternity of top fish dealers, who save their best for Jiri's restaurant. Like the fish that are disappearing from the oceans, they're probably the last of a breed.
  5. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Apr 4, 2012
    75
    This is a portrait of tunnel vision. Jiro exists to make sushi. Sushi exists to be made by Jiro.
  6. Reviewed by: Mike Sula
    Apr 5, 2012
    70
    The most interesting moments, however, belong not to the chef but to those who labor in his shadow. "Jiro's ghost will always be watching," observes one interview subject as he imagines Jiro's eventual passing and its probable effect on his 50-ish son, who follows in his father's footsteps but will never be considered his equal.
  7. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    Mar 8, 2012
    60
    Despite foodie-baiting close-ups of nigiri sushi brushed with soy sauce, and montages of skillful food prep, the film falls short as a satisfying exploration of craft. Like many other such portraits, it wastes valuable time declaring its subject's excellence that could be spent fleshing out demonstrations, explanations, context.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Aug 29, 2012
    10
    Somewhere in a Tokyo street, there is a sushi restaurant with ten seats. And at this restaurant, a very old
  2. Aug 26, 2013
    9
    According to Jiro Ono, the modest star of Jiro Dreams of Sushi, a great sushi chef must be borderline obsessed or just plain obsessed with his craft to succeed. Clearly filmmaker David Gelb follows the same principals as Jiro Dreams of Sushi is heart warming, informative cinema that demands attention for its keen eye, its views on family, loyalty and devotion and its unrelenting look at a man who has worked almost every day of his life and regrets none of it. The film tells the story of Jiro and his passion for Sushi, something that has brought him from nothing to having a three star Michellin restaurant and a family whose devotion to this strange yet beautiful craft rivals his own, especially his son Yoshikazu. Unlike any food documentary you have seen, Jiro Dreams of Sushi doesn't tell a story of how Jiro came to be so knowledgeable in sushi, in fact the documentary only briefly speaks of Jiro's past. The film tells the story from the point of view of Gelb, a fly on the wall but one intent on taking in every little morsel of information. Gelb however is uninterested in the man Jiro was but the one his is today, 85 years old at the time of filming, Jiro is a modern marvel, a gem of a long forgotten time where devotion wasn't a vice, where hard work and imagination meant more than technology and blind luck. A film for our time, Jiro and his son are extraordinary people who are worth knowing existed, not only to inspire you but to scare you. Gelb frames this lesson in perfection with subtlety making for a relaxed yet involving viewing experience. The film packs in so much into its run time that it may feel overstuffed and at times a little preachy but overall I left this cinematic meal very satisfied yet with a hankering for more. Collapse
  3. Mar 22, 2012
    9
    It's a beautiful film - the visuals, the music, and the very subtle, quiet, gentle way in which the story is told work in delicious harmony. I'm not even a sushi eater, but I left the movie really needing to try it. The lifetime of Jiro's and his sons' commitment to improving their craft as the ends, not the means to an end (such as wealth or fame) is impressive. It's almost as if all those years of preparation and commitment are serving that single reaction from the consumer - that umami. If only everyone had the same level of dedication. Sure, there's a tremendous amount of personal sacrifice necessary to achieve greatness in this way - and Jiro admits that his family life suffered over the years. But it's refreshing to see someone so dedicated to excellence in every element of his craft. Expand
  4. Jwv
    Jan 9, 2014
    8
    A great feel-good documentary. The film succeeds in bringing forward an inspiring story of success. It's a good thing the film also focuses on Jiro's succession, but some deeper personal digging into the mystery Jiro still is after watching instead of focusing almost solely on his weighty philosophy, could justify the title some more.

    I had the feeling that the director didn't really have a very cohesive and logic narrative in mind throughout the whole mid part of the film, and that the reorganization of some scenes could have provided a more intricate and seamless narrative structure.

    What I thought was particularly great about seeing this movie from a European perspective was that it made me genuinely inquisitive and interested into this unknown Japanese culture.

    A film with a real, albeit cliché message.
    Expand
  5. Apr 24, 2012
    8
    How do you show someone who is a perfectionist and who spends his entire lifetime honing his skill at his chosen craft? Such commitment is hardly seen anymore, in our get-rich-quick society. This quiet film shows us such a Masterl. Wish I could have a bite of Jiro's sushi! Expand
  6. May 26, 2014
    7
    What an interesting little documentary this was. It's original, unique an one of a kind. You can't just take one persons word for it, you have to go see it on your own terms- Because this is something you won't regret taking a look at. Expand
  7. Nov 13, 2012
    5
    An interesting premise, but the film quickly exhausts the subject matter. One aspect of the film that is completely glazed over is the credibility of those claiming Jiro's sushi is so great. The interviewees are clearly biased and even intimidated by Jiro. I would have liked to have seen Jiro's reputation enforced first (by blind taste tests or other good science) before the documentary started lauding his techniques. The way the way the critics talk about Jiro's sushi is eerily reminiscent of how wine tasters talk about wine and they have been shown to be easily tricked by labels, presentation and expectations. Expand

See all 10 User Reviews