Coffee Shop: Love, Family, and Coffee with a Twist (Movie Review)

John FarrellBy John Farrell6 Minutes

I’m not a coffee drinker. I’ve never been and I don’t foresee a time in the near or not-so-near future where I will become one. It’s just not my thing.

There is, however, something uniquely charming and relaxing about a local (read: not chain) coffee shop that has a laid-back vibe. Oftentimes, these small mom-and-pop businesses become a go-to place in small towns that carry a family feel and everyone knows and loves everyone.

Fortunately, there is one of these quaint establishments in the next town over from where I live. It doubles as a second-hand bookstore, which is very much my jam. I can go in there, order a tea, grab a book, and find a chair and table by the window and read to my heart’s content.

Although I don’t go there as often as I would like and when I do go there the employees don’t know me by name, there is something to be said about having a place that feels like a home away from home where everyone knows your name and everyone is family.

Everyone needs a place like Donavan’s.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Donavan’s is a coffee shop located in small-town Connecticut owned and managed by Donavan Turner, who opened the popular spot when she was only 19 years old. Unfortunately, the coffee shop has fallen on hard times and is struggling financially, forcing the owner to fight to save her business and file a request for an investment loan from the local bank. Donavan’s long-time boyfriend, Patrick, left three months earlier for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with a real estate firm in Chicago. Instead of tagging along with him, as he had hoped, she chose to stay behind to chase her own dreams.

The coffee shop is just as much as character in the 2014 film—fittingly titled Coffee Shop—as are the actors in the romantic comedy. Laura Vandervoort delivers a refreshing performance as Donavan opposite Cory Grant, who portrays Ben, a Broadway playwright struggling to revive his writing career after two consecutive flops.

With his producing partner, played by Kevin Sorbo, pressuring him to deliver an award-winning script, Ben is convinced by his college roommate, Kevin (Jason Burkey), to visit their harbor town to rest, get rejuvenated, and find inspiration.

Upon arriving in town, Ben visits Donavan’s to order a tea (he’s also not a fan of coffee, much to the chagrin of Donavan). She even comes across a little arrogant and bitter in their first encounter, which is safe to say does not go well. However, there’s reason for her acidic behavior.

Shortly before Ben’s arrival, Donavan is visited by Frank Miller (performed contemptibly as only Jon Lovitz can), an investment banker who sees no other option than shutting down Donavan’s. Unbeknownst to Donavan, the owner of the bank recently sold it to Frank and his partner.

Kevin’s girlfriend, Becky (Rachel Hendrix), who also happens to be Donavan’s little sister, enlists him to help Donavan get back together with Patrick (Josh Ventura). Kevin, however, confuses her instructions. On a night where Becky invites Donavan to come over for dinner to cheer her up, Kevin, unbeknownst to Becky, has also invited Ben over for dinner. Their second encounter also does not go well with Donavan turning around and leaving even before entering.

Throughout the movie, the coffee shop serves as a hub for locals, and it’s obvious that it is a special place to many in the community. It is also where Ben finds inspiration for and starts writing his next play.

As could be expected in a rom-com, Donovan and Ben begin to harbor feelings for each other. But just as their relationship is about to crest, Patrick returns with intentions of saving the day. About the same time that Patrick shows up, Ben commits an unpardonable sin—at least in Donavan’s eyes.

Coffee Shop is about discovering your true identity, learning to love, valuing others, and trusting God’s master plan over your own, while combining family, laughter, love, loyalty, and friendship in a family-friendly film that all ages will enjoy.

Is the flame between Donavan and Patrick reignited? Does Ben find a way to work his way back into Donavan’s good graces? Is Donavan able to regain control of her life and save her coffee shop? To discover the answer to these questions, watch Coffee Shop.