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Along for the Ride Ending Explained

The ending of Along for the Ride shows Auden and Eli finding closure and new beginnings. Auden embraces life, and Eli pursues his BMX dreams.

“Along for the Ride” is a 2022 Netflix film directed by Sofia Alvarez. Based on Sarah Dessen’s novel, it tells the story of Auden West, a young woman spending her last summer before college in the beachside town of Colby. The film explores themes of self-discovery, healing, and second chances.

Auden and Eli’s Journey

Auden West, played by Emma Pasarow, is a straight-A student. She decides to spend her summer in Colby with her father, Robert, his new wife, Heidi, and their newborn baby. Auden wants to reconnect with her father and experience the teenage life she missed during high school.

In Colby, Auden meets Eli, a mysterious young man dealing with the trauma of losing his best friend, Abe, in a car accident. Eli helps Auden experience the joys of teenage life, while Auden helps Eli confront his grief.

Their relationship is central to the film. They bond over their shared experiences of loss and their desire to break free from their pasts. Auden learns to ride a bike, symbolizing her journey towards a more carefree life. However, their relationship faces challenges, especially when Auden’s unresolved feelings about her parents’ divorce resurface, leading to a temporary fallout.

Auden’s relationship with her father is strained. Robert is preoccupied with his work and fails to provide the emotional support Auden needs. This dynamic is further complicated by his relationship with Heidi, who feels neglected and overwhelmed. Auden’s presence in Colby acts as a catalyst for change, prompting Robert to reevaluate his priorities and mend his relationships with both Heidi and Auden.

The Climax and Resolution

The film’s climax occurs during a bike competition, where Auden watches Eli compete for the first time. This event marks a turning point in their relationship. After the competition, they reconcile, with Eli opening up about his grief and starting the process of healing. This moment of vulnerability and honesty strengthens their bond and sets the stage for their future together.

One of the most poignant scenes is the makeshift prom night that Eli and Auden’s friends organize for her. Auden, who never attended her high school prom, gets the chance to experience this rite of passage. Eli surprises her by showing up at her house in a tuxedo, and they head to the beach where their friends have set up a prom celebration. This scene symbolizes Auden’s acceptance into the Colby community and her newfound sense of belonging.

The film concludes with a time skip, showing Auden and her friend Maggie attending college together. Auden receives a postcard from Eli, who has followed his dream of pursuing BMX in Barcelona. This ending highlights the growth and transformation that both characters have undergone. Auden has learned to embrace life and take risks, while Eli has found the courage to pursue his passions despite his past trauma.

Themes of Self-Discovery and Growth

“Along for the Ride” is fundamentally a story about self-discovery and personal growth. Auden’s journey from a sheltered, academically focused teenager to a more well-rounded and adventurous young woman is a central theme. Her experiences in Colby, particularly her relationship with Eli, help her break free from her self-imposed limitations and embrace a fuller, more balanced life.

The film also explores the themes of healing and second chances. Eli’s journey to overcome his grief and return to BMX symbolizes the possibility of moving forward after a traumatic event. Similarly, Auden’s reconciliation with her father and her acceptance of Heidi as part of her family underscore the importance of forgiveness and the potential for new beginnings.

The Role of Community

The supportive community in Colby plays a crucial role in Auden’s transformation. The friendships she forms and the acceptance she receives from the townspeople provide her with the emotional support she needs to grow. This sense of community is epitomized in the prom night scene, where her friends come together to give her a memorable experience.


“Along for the Ride” is a heartwarming and insightful film that captures the essence of teenage self-discovery and the healing power of relationships. The ending, with its focus on reconciliation, personal growth, and the promise of new beginnings, provides a satisfying conclusion to Auden and Eli’s journey. The film’s exploration of themes such as healing, second chances, and the importance of community resonates deeply, making it a poignant and memorable addition to the coming-of-age genre.


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