In these days it is hardly surprising to see a small business shut down, whether it be a small customer base, unbeatable competition, or a crippling mortgage. It breaks my heart to see it, especially for business owners who work so hard.
Among these hard working business owners is Donovan Turner, a small town Batista who prides herself in guiding her customers to their perfect drink. It is unfortunate for her that her talent is not enough to keep her coffee shop open. It is more unfortunate that what she has in terms of coffee match-making, she lacks in social grace.
Throughout the film, I found it very difficult to sympathize with her character, because of her inability to properly communicate with others. She judges people’s actions and relationships without asking clarification. She guesses the entire plot of a script after reading a couple pages. Her financial trouble nearly causes her shop to close, and she bears the burden in complete silence. Most of all, she refuses to stand up to the people who wrong her, especially her manipulative sister.
Such is the case when struggling playwright Ben Carson walks into her shop in search of inspiration. Instead, he finds himself the victim of a terrible misunderstanding. Instead of clarifying her suspicions about him, she acted on her assumptions. One would think she would learn the importance of communication after one misunderstanding, but she doesn’t. It nearly costs her a very meaningful relationship with Ben Carson.
If this film teaches anything, it is about how IMPERATIVE it is to effectively communicate with others. Often times, people do not understand how hurtful assumptions can be. I know first-hand how hurtful they are. They burn bridges and ruin people’s lives.
However, we must also learn to forgive those who assume about us as Christ was able to forgive those who put him on the cross. Coffee Shop is an effective illustration of these repercussions, but also how people can learn, recover, forgive, and move on.