"Simple acts of kindness . . . are the tiny, flickering candles in a cavern of darkness that sustain our common humanity."
— Chris Hedges, cultural writer
Love has been described as a power that can miraculously move mountains, and many spiritual people see it that way. Others experience love as little things, tiny gestures, or small acts that stir the heart.
Andrew (Cooper Raiff) is a bright, amiable, recent college graduate who has not yet found his vocational calling. He’s living at home in the same room with his thirteen-year-old brother David (Evan Assante). His mother (Leslie Mann) and stepfather (Greg Garrett) are worried about him and disappointed that his plans consist of a part-time job at a hot dog stand followed by a trip to Barcelona where his girlfriend is studying.
Things seem to be turning around when he lands a position working as a bar mitzvah/bat mitzvah party starter. With his charm, humor, and easy-going nature, he is able to get everybody out on the dance floor, even the shy boys. David, who wishes he had some of his brother’s spunk, asks for advice on handling his first kiss.
"All that matters now is to be kind to each other with all the goodness that is in us."
— Etty Hillesum quoted in The Cup of Our Life by Joyce Rupp
Small intimations of love can surprise us with their magic. At one bar mitzvah dance, Andrew looks across the room and meets the gaze of Domino (Dakota Johnson), the pretty mother of Lola (Vanessa Burghardt), an autistic teenager who is socially awkward. Domino is impressed with the emotional literacy of the dance host who draws her daughter out of herself and on to the dance floor. Andrew's kindness to her comes across as a healing balm.
Soon Domino and Andrew are friends, and he is babysitting for Lola. For Domino, a single mother who is engaged to marry a lawyer who is often away on a case, finds Andrew is easy to talk to about everything from the challenges of raising Lola to her own depression. His empathetic nature is activated when she says, “All the things I’m really scared of doing are probably the things that will help me the most but I just can’t do them.”
"Kindness is the secret password whereby we recognize our connection to one another."
— Editors of Random Acts of Kindness in The Community of Kindness
The spiritual practice of kindness frees us from the isolation and the alienation that is so rampant today. When we reach out to others, we open their hearts and theirs as well. Cooper Raiff, who wrote and directed Cha Cha Real Smooth, brilliantly illustrates this process.
As the characters of Andrew, Domino, and Lola connect, interact, and influence each other, new possibilities begin to bloom in their lives.