‘Along For The Ride’ Ending, Explained: How Did Auden Help Eli Overcome His Guilt?


“Along For The Ride” is a romantic film about two nocturnes who crossed each other’s paths in Colby, and what followed after was a healing friendship that later bloomed into romance. Auden West (Emma Pasrow) is academically brilliant. She won a scholarship to Defriese University. She wanted to spend her summer with her father and her stepmother by the beach in a small town named Colby. While her mother was confused by her daughter’s sudden interest in working at a clothing store in the small town, Auden knew that it was her only chance to be a different person. She was lonely in her hometown and wanted to experience life differently; summer by the beach sounded perfect to her.

‘Along For The Ride’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

Auden had high expectations from her father, but upon reaching Colby, she found him locked inside his study room, busy with a book he aimed to complete writing. He did not have time to spend with her, and that was a major disappointment for Auden. Her stepmother, Heidi, was an incredibly sweet woman who was proud of her stepdaughter. Her days were spent looking after her newborn child, Thisbe. Heidi encouraged Auden to make friends in the new town and to live her life while she was still young. Auden went to the Tip, a spot by the beach where most teenagers would spend time together. She met a guy named Jake and decided to have a fling with him, though she was repulsed by the idea the moment they got intimate. She was not the carefree person she was pretending to be, and she preferred to keep it that way.

Heidi took her to the store the next morning, where she met Maggie, Leah, and Esther. Jake used to be Maggie’s boyfriend, and after watching Auden and Jake kiss at the tip, Maggie was not interested in being her friend. She watched the girls enjoy themselves together after work as she waited for them to leave to buy herself a cup of coffee. After coming to Colby, she routinely stayed up late as she could not sleep at night. She read books under the streetlamp, and that was when she noticed Eli. Eli used to ride his bike at night; they observed one another from a distance. After a few days spent just looking, Eli’s bike crashed into Auden’s coffee, and he promised that he would make it up to her. Behind the laundry store there was a secret pie shop where Eli took her in the middle of the night. She was enchanted by the place that was hidden away from most people and served the best of foods. They played Connect Four and discussed all the things Auden had missed in life.

She was a genius student, but she was always expected to stay away from what people considered childish. Therefore, in the process of being the smart girl in class, Auden had missed out on little things that she secretly hoped to experience someday. In the end, Eli took it upon himself to help Auden experience all that she had missed, and in the process, he too learned to face the past that he had been carefully avoiding.

Major Spoilers Ahead

What Happened In The Past That Changed Eli?

Eli was a professional BMX rider who had won various championships. He and his best friend, Abe, always dreamt of moving to Barcelona as it was the best place to be in terms of their careers. Abe and Eli were invited to an international competition in New York. On their way home, when they were quite close to Colby, they met with an accident. A drunken driver hit their car, and Eli was driving. Abe died as a result of the accident, and Eli could not forgive himself for it. After the demise of his best friend, he stayed away from social gatherings and parties. He only rode the bike at night when there was barely anyone in the street. During the day, he worked at the garage with the shutter pulled down to stay away from others. He had given up on his dreams, and that bothered Auden.

She tried to bring up this issue several times in their conversation, but he always deflected from it. Even though they spent every night doing the childish fun things that Auden had missed, she felt he too needed someone to be the person he used to be. She invited him to a house party on the Fourth of July. While he rejected the idea in the first instance, he later joined her at the party, and they ended up sharing a kiss. Maggie, Leah, and Esther, who had now become friends with Auden after overcoming their initial hiccup, cheered for the couple.

‘Along For The Ride’ Ending Explained: What Made Eli Change His Mind? How Were Their Issues Resolved?

Throughout her stay, Auden noticed how absent her father was. As her stepmother struggled with her newborn, her father found ways to escape from his responsibilities. As a child, Auden had witnessed her parents argue, and later they got a divorce. She believed that a summer spent with her father would mend their relationship, but that never happened. Her father was a selfish man who used her to escape from his responsibilities. On the 4th of July, Heidi and Robert argued when she demanded he take her to a family barbecue. Heidi could not accept the absence of her husband any longer, and she revolted. Robert left the house the next morning and was noticed by Auden in front of a coffee shop.

Robert blamed Heidi for being unpredictable, a comment that stunned Auden. He was unsure of being a husband and a father. Auden reminded him of how he always quit on his family, or rather how he never truly even tried to be present for them. She called her mother and asked her to come to Colby to talk with Heidi since she was going through the same experience. Tired of her father’s behavior, Auden was upset, and Eli came along to make her ride a bike. She was triggered by it since learning to ride a bike was another experience that every child had with their father, but she did not. She had a brief argument with Eli, asking him to think about himself, his future, and what he truly wanted to be. She reminded him that she was not his second chance at friendship, and he must address his issue instead of running away from it. At home, her father returned, realizing the mistake he was making once again. Heidi and Robert had an honest conversation, and he started to be more present with her and their child.

Their distance allowed Eli to reflect on his life. Even though he missed Abe, he also missed biking and competitions. He gradually started to accept how proud Abe would feel if he could excel in something that they loved to do. After eighteen months, he finally signed up for a competition and performed brilliantly. Auden was there cheering for him. After the event, Auden explained that she was rude the other night as a result of the personal problems she was going through. She shared how she had enjoyed every quest they went on together regularly at night. The next morning, Auden woke up early in the morning, something that she had been unable to do since the day she started staying at Colby. She could finally have a good night’s sleep knowing that she was able to confront her father and make him realize his mistake. That morning, Eli came to her house in a tuxedo and asked her to wear the dress she had bought but could not wear at her school prom. What Auden thought would be a regular day riding bikes and drinking coke while wearing their favorite clothes turned into a beachside prom party with her friends joining in. They decorated the spot and danced their hearts out. Auden and Eli kissed on the beach, as they did the first time.

In the present time, we learn that Eli has traveled to Barcelona. He was riding his bike and practicing street BMX, as he had always dreamt of. He continues to write letters to Auden, and she cherishes them. Auden and Maggie are now roommates at Defriese University.

“Along For The Ride” is about self-discovery and love. Auden learned the importance of letting go of the image she had established as the topper of her class. She, too, deserved to make mistakes and take part in silly games without being judgmental. As Heidi had told her, life was way too long to be just a single version of ourselves. Auden’s summer at Colby taught her to be a different person, something that she had always hoped for. She found friends, lovers, and even a home in the most unexpected place. She was lucky that she took a leap of faith and did not abide by what was expected of her.

“Along For The Ride” is a 2022 drama romance film directed by Sofia Alvarez.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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