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Sneak peek: Looking for a movie to show in your heritage Spanish class?

Spanish class watching movie East Side Sushi

All eyes were glued to the screen during this charming movie. My heritage students were enthralled with the Latino characters that reminded them of people they know personally. They found the main character’s father to be especially hilarious. I loved hearing my classroom burst into laughter because of a relatable character. The storyline is heartwarming and the Mexican-American culture portrayed is accurate. The plot is believable and there is even a hint of romance! I 100% recommend this film for your class!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click through to one of the product links, I’ll earn a small percentage at no extra cost to you. 

characters in East Side Sushi

Language

This movie is mostly in English with some Spanish. The subtitles are only available in English. I was okay with that because the purpose of showing this to my class was more for the themes and culture represented. The English spoken was essential to accurately convey the hybrid identity of the Mexican-American characters. It was neat to hear one of my students greet me the second day of watching this film by saying:

“I really like this movie! I’m going to show it to my family.”

Juana in East Side Sushi

Synopsis

Juana is a young Latina woman living in California with her father and daughter. She is especially talented in the kitchen and upon finding a new job at a Japanese restaurant, aspires to become a sushi chef despite racial and gender barriers.

Juana and Aki in East Side Sushi
Juana making sushi

School Appropriate

There is nothing too inappropriate to show high school students. You could even show this to middle school students but know that there is a bit of alcohol and some very mild swearing. 

Juana's daughter in East Side Sushi

Duration

This movie is 1 hour and 45 minutes. Combined with our normal class routine of ten minutes of free reading to start the hour, this took my class three days.

Juana and her dad in East Side Sushi

Streaming

East Side Sushi is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video. If you prefer, you can also purchase the DVD on Amazon. I don’t regret this purchase one bit. I will gladly support a film with great Latino representation!

East Side Sushi movie

Themes

This was the PERFECT movie for summing up the first trimester of my heritage Spanish class. We studied a unit on hybrid identity where we learned about stereotypes and discrimination. Juana, the main character, is a great example of someone who, with a mixed identity, faces discrimination based on her ethnicity. This trimester we also did a mini food unit so this movie fit right in!

Another topic in this movie is the hard work and grit of Latinos in the United States. 

Juana looking for job

Questions Sheet

You can download my post-movie reflection sheet (in both English & Spanish) for free by becoming a subscriber to my freebie folder

Question sheet movie guide for East Side Sushi

Pin for later!

What other movies do you love showing in your heritage Spanish class? Comment below!

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