The Same, Yet Different.
This little 2014 movie had a very different vibe from the usual Hallmark or other network romances being produced today, so it already had a leg up with me. I think it was probably produced for a Christian production company because there were several references to God, the Bible, or Christian faith. Other than those gratuitous references, there was no other indication that faith or religion had much of an impact on their lives. So it was great for people who are affirmed by that sort of thing, but it was not intrusive.
The film started with a voice-over by the heroine by way of exposition of her dating trials and tribulations after a break up with her “perfect” boyfriend. The beautiful Laura Vandervoort plays Donavan, the beloved owner of a beloved coffee shop on the verge of foreclosure. After a scary and unpleasant meeting with her banker, played by Jon Lovitz, she sees him talking with a stranger, Ben, and thinks they are in cahoots. In reality, Ben is a once-successful playwright who is struggling to write another successful play after two failures. He is visiting his good friend who happens to be Donavan’s sister’s boyfriend. Because of the mistaken identity, Donavan treats Ben very rudely much to his bewilderment. He is just meeting his friend for a cup of coffee and he is being treated like he is a hostile invader. It’s a funny scene and well played.
We know right away that Ben is the love interest. He is very cute and likable, they just had a “meet cute”, and he really gets Donavan. She is trying to re-establish her love life but she is subverting her own personality and preferences in order to please her dates, rather than just being honest about her own likes. He sees this right away. After a rough beginning, and despite her sister who has taken him in dislike for some reason, they start to fall in love.
He soon has some competition with her ex-boyfriend who has slimeball written all over him. He has come back to town to ostensibly woo her back but really to help the banker sell her coffee shop to one of his big-city clients who is going to (gasp!) turn it into a parking garage! Betrayal!
I enjoyed this. Although it was a very simple and predictable love story, it had really nice warm cinematography and a cozy, intimate atmosphere. There were no silly scenes or gratuitous montages that only serve as a substitute for story-telling. The secondary characters had their own little stories and nicely sketched in personalities. There was suspense and anticipation as to what would transpire and how the inevitable happy ending would come about. In the end, we get Laura’s voice-over again which wraps up the story nicely. And even a breaking of the fourth wall with a little wink at the audience by Laura. It was a nice little touch.
January 26, 2022