The film’s title hits the nail on the head, a story of a young immigrant who knows no English, and his trials in the deceptively difficult task of ordering breakfast at the local diner. Written and directed by Cary Patrick Martin, starring: Memo, Deirdre MacNamara, Rocio Mendez and Jonathan Cherr.
Learning a language is incredibly difficult with a teacher, trying to teach yourself a language is even harder, but trying to do that while already living in the country where that language is spoken and needing it to get through day to day tasks? That’s an unenviable task, one that Pablo (Memo) is determined to conquer. Everything about the opening of Coffee and a Donut is distinctly American, the diner, the background jazz music, the food, and even the lack of effort towards someone who doesn’t speak English. It’s an opening that wouldn’t feel out of place at the beginning of a sit-com, down to the title card being within the scene rather than added in post production, it’s a nice touch and sets things up for what’s to come.
All we know of Pablo to begin with id that he’s a man in a diner, who can’t speak English, we don’t know where he’s from or why he’s now in America but you don’t need to. The character is immediately likable, his quiet, shy nature is utterly sympathetic and it straight away pulls you into the story. The introduction of Camila (Mendez) is clever, she comes across as brash and rude so it’s not quite a meet-cute but as she introduces herself and offers to help Pablo, it’s clear that she’s actually understanding and kind, a good example of why first impressions are not always telling of who a person really is. As their friendship blossoms, it’s incredibly sweet and charming to watch unfold, a simple action of helping out another person is heart-warming, and Memo and Mendez have a good chemistry.
Coffee and a Donut is extremely charming, delightfully sweet and a modest story about generosity and understanding. It holds a lesson that a lot of people could use a reminder of and does it in a way that’s lovely to watch, it will leave you wondering what happened to Pablo and Camila next.