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Hope Cafe The Movie –

Everyone Deserves a Second Chance


 Hope Cafe The Movie

– A Personal Review


The world we live in today can seem so violent, full of sadness, anger, depression, and greed.  We glorify and give more emphasis on anything and everything that is shocking, over the top, disgusting, and negative because of what?  Profit? Selling more magazines and newspapers?  Higher ratings? Has this world really lost what it means to be kind, loving, generous, and open hearted?  The movies, the music, and the speech that is used today seeks to divide, arouse hatred, and glorify so much violence.  But what we are really about is not that.  We are really a species that is born with Love of infinite capacity.

I’m by no means a movie critic but what I do know is I believe in great stories about being human.  Movies for me are a way to soothe my soul, inspire, excite, and open up a creativity in my mind and heart.  When I watched movies I would be so enamored, inspired, entertained, and enthralled by movies ranging from Star Wars, Rocky, Grease, Gone With The Wind, Superman, Lawrence of Arabia, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, Forrest Gump,  Terminator, Love Story, The Godfather series, Lord of The Rings, and many more.  I loved being taken into the world showing on the screen and feel and be a part of it to entertain me and take me away from the daily challenges and grind of life.   For me it was all about how a movie would capture my mind and imagination and most of all my heart and soul.

When I look at how movies have evolved from the classics of yesteryear to today’s computer enhanced and digitized sometimes soul-less productions I long for something that would bring back that true human element.  Movies that spoke of life’s daily struggles, joy, happiness, sadness, redemption, and most of all love.  In the last decade I’ve really learned to appreciate movies that did not need hundreds of millions of dollars to produce.  While entertaining to watch, today’s mega-blockbuster movies don’t leave as big an impression to me as before.

I had the opportunity not just to watch a movie that I could relate to about life, love, loss, redemption, faith, hope, sadness, disappointment, and finding peace and forgiveness in one’s heart.  Hope Cafe The Movie ( is an independent faith-based film scheduled for release on Amazon in early 2013 and the executive producer, actor, and director of this movie, Radhaa Nilia, brings her complete heart and soul into this.  It tells a story that we can all relate to in today’s world.  Whether it’s the gang-infested violent streets of Los Angeles or the slums of Manila, Bombay, Mexico City or any big city in the world where majority of the population struggles just to survive in a tough, unforgiving world anyone watching this can relate to its message.

The story revolves around two main characters that are both trying to make it in a world where life seems so unfair and hopeless.  Inspired and based on real-life events Radhaa produced, acted, and directed this movie that sends a message without being preachy or gushing with sentimentality and over the top emotions.  She plays the role of Jade, a single mom struggling to get back on her feet after an abusive relationship.  She leaves that relationship and settles in a small town in Oregon and create a new life for herself.  All the while she is also trying to gain custody of her daughter and be reunited with her.

Jade lands a job in a local cafe as a barista and meets Hector portrayed by veteran actor Noel Gugliemi (Fast and Furious, Bruce Almighty, Training Day), a small-time street hustler from Los Angeles who is also trying to get away from a life of violence and crime.  Hector charms his way into Jade’s life and brings her a happiness and joy that was missing from her last relationship.  His criminal past soon comes back to haunt him and the faith and trust that Jade has given to him is shattered by this.  They say that you can take someone from the rough and tumble life of the streets but the street life never leaves you.

Jade finds solace, peace, and comfort in her heart when she finds renewed faith in God and herself and moves on with courage and strength.  Hector is challenged by all this and his love for Jade is what compels him to give it a try.  The other characters portrayed in this movie are all reflective and can be related to by a lot of people most especially for myself.  Having lived in many different cities and traveled through many small towns in Canada and the United States I’ve been blessed to meet many similar people like the ones I’ve seen in this movie.

Award winning Filipino actor Raymond Bagatsing plays a role in this movie as Hector’s Catholic priest. For many of his fans from the Philippines this movie will also touch many, many hearts not just because he is in it but of the movie itself which is about faith, hope, religion, and second chances.  Radhaa has created a movie that brings life to characters and life situations we all can relate to and the biggest impression this movie left on me was not just about its message of hope, faith, and second chances.  The biggest message and feeling I got from this was that I felt Radhaa’s heart and soul poured all out into this for all to see.

I can imagine how much and what it took to conceptualize this from the concept, to the script, to the casting, the locations, the costumes and wardrobe, the original musical score. the scenery, to the style of the shooting, leaves me deeply appreciative of what an artist does to present a story truly from the heart.  Its a movie where the overall theme that hope, faith, and love can help anyone make changes and choices.  It shows how one can move forward in life without fear or regret to find happiness and peace.  I’ve watched a lot of other movies where the underlying theme was of personal salvation and the promise of salvation.  No, what I loved about this movie is that it shows how people can transform given the opportunity to do so.  To learn lessons from the mistakes and the challenges that life throws at you.

This  is the kind of movie that will touch not just your heart but also bring to one’s mind that we live in a world where we need to practice more love and forgiveness.  Yes, life is about choices and we can start by making those choices that pays it forward one heart and soul at a time.  We need to take a closer look at the movies that mirror what we all face in life and how we can be better human beings.  This is one of those movies that shows how an artist can take a story and bring to life a world that at some point in our lives we were some of those characters.  It’s a real movie about LIFE.


Written by

Mike Pestano is an entrepreneur, Business Development, Internet and Social Media consultant, health educator, blogger, and business coach. He has held various managerial and regional director positions including corporate sales trainer for GNC Canada, GNC USA, and Carmax West Coast. As a Social Media Consultant he specializes in social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.. Mike is also a health industry consultant specializing in the nutritional supplements sector since 2007 for several investment firms. He was also a member of the product formulation team for GNC Canada that developed a complete line of supplements unique to the Canadian market. His expertise encompasses organics, manufacturing processes, operations, distribution, and market development. He has a background in management, marketing, finance, and information administration technology from Brookhaven College in Dallas, Texas, Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, and Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. He has also completed the Dale Carnegie Course in Public Speaking as well as the Canadian Securities Course, Canadian Investment Funds Course, Life Underwriter’s Association courses, and the Caltex Philippines and Chevron Canada Service Station Management Programs. Here in the United States he is the Vice President of the Ateneo de Manila Alumni Association of California. He is the current President-Elect of the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Orange County and the Treasurer of the Council on Trade and Investments for Filipino Americans. Outside of work Mike’s hobbies and passions are cooking, baking, writing, drawing, and reading. A former swimmer, basketball, and baseball player he has now transitioned into the fitness arena and aspires to compete sometime in the near future in physique competitions.

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