Something to understand about the reason women enjoy romance fantasy is that it is one of the few things in the world that cater to the female gaze. There is always a lot of shame attached to pretty much everything that women like or do, while men escape the same scrutiny, as depicted in “Dear David.” It is the story of a woman learning that she has nothing to apologize for while taking a stand for herself and the people around her. To be honest, “Dear David” is quite a sweet story, though it should have been at least half an hour shorter. Another thing that really got to us was how much the actors lacked charisma, maybe with the exception of Caitlin North Lewis, who played Dilla. Let us see how one girl’s secret writings changed her life and that of those around her.
When Laras’ Writings Go Viral
Laras is a school-going teenage girl who writes fantasies in her free time, centered around a boy named David, on whom she has always had a crush. Laras is also a scholarship student and the president of her class. She used to be best friends with Dilla, but they haven’t spoken to each other in a year. At school, her best friend is branded as an easy girl and is often bullied for it. One day, due to an unfortunate misunderstanding, the rumor spreads that Dilla has slept with David. When Laras sees this, she is not sure whether there is any truth to it, but to get over her anger and insecurity, she writes another story in her account. However, her attempt to log out is unsuccessful, but she is unaware of that. The next day, she finds that someone has posted her writings on a Twitter thread, and they are going viral. This creates a few dilemmas, as the school wants to take strict action against the writer but doesn’t know who it is. The school suspects it to be Dilla because she had already been reprimanded previously for posting provocative pictures of herself.
Everyone, including the teachers and the classmates, suspect that she is the writer of the fiction. However, David is under no such illusion. The stories have embarrassed him and caused an incident or two of bullying, but he reads them nonetheless and figures out that Laras has written them. There are some similarities in the story and an incident in which Laras spilled a drink on him, which becomes his clue. He confronts her about it, and she tells him that she doesn’t have a crush on him but just used his name randomly. She apologizes to him, and they strike a deal: he will not tell anyone her secret, and in return, she must help him get close to Dilla, with whom he feels like he is in love. Though Laras agrees, she doesn’t know how to do that since she and Dilla are not friends anymore.
When she sees David’s dejected face after Dilla rejects his flowers, she takes the initiative. She asks Dilla to talk, but the latter is not in the mood and challenges Laras to skip class with her if she is sincere. Laras agrees, and they both skip school, get on the scooter, and go for some local street food before landing up at Laras’ house. Dilla tells Laras that since she rejected Arya’s proposal to be his girlfriend, the rumor spread that she had slept with him. She was especially hurt when Laras had not taken a stand for her, and their misunderstandings escalated from then on. Since they talk it out, it looks like their friendship is back on track, and Laras calls David to join them for a study session. But Dilla has caught on to her best friend’s feelings. She questions her about it, but Laras denies it all. The next day, the three of them plan a trip to the aquarium, and Dilla tests her theory. Though she flirts with David, she figures out that Laras is the one with feelings for him, and they both certainly have good chemistry.
The next day in school, due to another story going viral that mentions Dilla’s name, she is declared the culprit and suspended for 10 days, despite her protests that she is innocent. As a way of taking things into her own hands, she kisses David during his match, which is her way of gaining back some control in the narrative because it is becoming increasingly clear that she has feelings for someone else, aka Laras.
Laras is understandably upset seeing David and Dilla kiss, but there isn’t anything she can do about it. However, when she and David go on a church retreat, they have an activity together, during which she finds that he gets frequent panic attacks. While trying to calm him down, she tells him a story that is an indirect confession of her love for him. David understands, and it clicks for him that he likes Laras more than he likes Dilla. When they get back home, he tells Dilla that he doesn’t want a relationship. She is upset and asks for some time to think. Respecting her wishes, David leaves, but he forgets his phone behind, which turns out to be a mistake since Dilla sees the messages from Laras confessing her love for him and the fact that she was the writer of the stories. When David comes back for his phone and sees an angry Dilla, he understands how badly they have affected her for their own selfish needs. The next day, he warns Laras that Dilla knows, and she finds that the whole school does too. Her principal confiscates her phone and tells her to stay put until further notice.
Laras is angry that she is in this situation, but Dilla gives her a reality check by pointing out how much she had hurt her, and that too, without any other reason except cowardice and selfishness.
‘Dear David’ Ending Explained: What Happens When Laras’ Secret Is Revealed?
Facing the full weight of her actions, Laras breaks down. In a conversation she has with her mother, Laras confesses that she is scared that she will be a failure, but her mother assures her that it is only natural to fail once in a while. The important thing is to keep going. This is probably the first time that Laras has heard such words of encouragement from her mother since the rest of the time, she just keeps telling her that her skin is breaking out and she must try to be as pretty as her sister. In addition to this, Laras has blamed herself for her father leaving their family, and hearing her mother say that she is glad to have her as a daughter takes a weight off her shoulders.
Laras next step is to make amends with Dilla. She climbs over her wall to get into her house and hurts herself in the process. She apologizes to Dilla, and when the latter confronts her about what she regrets the most about her actions, Laras admits that she regrets hurting her friend. That is when Dilla confesses that she has been in love with Laras for a long time, and she is worried that Laras would stop being friends with her if she knew the truth. But Laras tells her that she will always be her best friend, and in fact, knowing that she had so much love and support with her all along gives her the courage to do what’s right.
In school, her principal tells her that Laras must apologize for writing the stories. When she enquires whether the person to leak those, Arya, would be similarly punished, she discovers that he won’t be since he was not the writer. Throughout the “Dear David” film, we see a certain hypocrisy in the way boys and girls are treated. The rumor that was spread about Dilla, be it with Arya or David, caused her to be ostracized, whereas the boys faced no consequences. In fact, when the stories objectifying David were released, he became the local heartthrob. But the writer is on the verge of expulsion while the person who leaked her private writings without her consent gets to go scot-free. But Laras is done with this, and in her apology, she points out the sexism and hypocrisy of the school without mincing words, going so far as to say that she is not sorry for writing what she did. While this causes her to get expelled, she is seen out amidst cheers for her bravery and for taking a stand.
“Dear David” ends with Laras and David becoming a couple and Dilla choosing to accept her sexuality and approaching a girl she had previously found cute at the aquarium. Life does go on in beautiful ways as long as we accept who we are and don’t hide it from others or ourselves.
What Works For “Dear David” Film?
As we said before, “Dear David” should have been half an hour shorter. Other than that, there was nothing particularly wrong with it, but we wish that they had made the double standards of the society around them clearer other than in just one fell swoop in the ending. However, we don’t think that was the theme of the movie. It was more about friendship and a young woman finding love in her surroundings and confidence within herself. Sharper editing would have made “Dear David” a better movie, but for now, it is a decent watch for when you have nothing else on your watchlist.
“Dear David” is a 2023 Drama Romance film directed by Lucky Kuswandi.