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Crush (2022 Film) Ending Explained

The 2022 film Crush ends with Paige and AJ acknowledging their feelings for each other, leading to a romantic resolution. AJ is revealed as the mysterious graffiti artist, King Pun, adding depth to her character.

Crush, directed by Sammi Cohen, is a coming-of-age romantic comedy. It stars Rowan Blanchard as Paige and Auliʻi Cravalho as AJ. The film explores teenage love, self-discovery, and the pressures of fitting in.

Paige’s Journey

Paige, an aspiring artist, joins her high school track team to get closer to her crush, Gabriela. However, she soon finds herself drawn to Gabriela’s twin sister, AJ. This shift in focus marks the beginning of Paige’s journey towards self-discovery.

Paige’s initial crush on Gabriela is based on an idealized version of her. Gabriela’s on-and-off relationship with her girlfriend and her social butterfly nature make Paige uncomfortable. As Paige spends more time with AJ, she realizes that AJ is more low-key and shares a deeper connection with her. This realization is a turning point in the film, highlighting the complicatedities of teenage love.

The subplot involving the identity of “King Pun”, a graffiti artist admired by the students, adds an element of intrigue. This mystery serves as a metaphor for hidden identities and self-expression. The film uses this subplot to explore themes of self-discovery and acceptance.

Paige and AJ’s Relationship

The climax of the film centers around Paige and AJ’s evolving relationship. After realizing that her feelings for Gabriela were based on an idealized version of her, Paige embraces her genuine connection with AJ. The film culminates in a heartfelt moment where Paige and AJ acknowledge their feelings for each other, leading to a romantic resolution.

The mystery of King Pun’s identity is revealed towards the end of the film. It turns out that AJ is King Pun, which adds a layer of depth to her character. This revelation not only surprises Paige but also strengthens their bond, as it highlights AJ’s creative side and her ability to express herself through art (DMTalkies).

The film concludes with a scene where Paige and AJ, along with their friends, walk off into the sunset. This ending symbolizes the beginning of a new chapter in their lives, filled with love, acceptance, and self-discovery. The principal’s decision to take credit for the beautification idea, which was inspired by King Pun’s graffiti, adds a humorous touch to the conclusion (DMTalkies).

Themes in Crush

Self-Discovery and Acceptance

One of the central themes of Crush is self-discovery. Paige’s journey from infatuation with Gabriela to genuine love for AJ mirrors her own path to understanding herself. The film emphasizes the importance of accepting oneself and others, regardless of societal expectations or stereotypes.

The Complexity of Teenage Love

Crush portrays teenage love as complicated and multifaceted. The film does not shy away from depicting the awkwardness, confusion, and intensity of young love. Paige’s initial crush on Gabriela and her eventual realization of her true feelings for AJ reflect the often tumultuous nature of teenage relationships.

Art as a Form of Expression

Art plays a significant role in the film, both as a plot device and a thematic element. Paige’s aspiration to attend art school and AJ’s secret identity as King Pun highlight the importance of creative expression. The film suggests that art can be a powerful tool for self-discovery and communication.

Critical Reception

Crush received mixed to positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 78% approval rating based on 36 reviews, with an average rating of 6.2/10. The consensus reads, “Some of the writing is stilted and the execution is occasionally uneven, but Crush’s central love story is easy to fall for” (Wikipedia). On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 56 out of 100, indicating “mixed or average reviews” (Wikipedia).

Critics praised the film for its charming and relatable portrayal of teenage love. M.N. Miller of Ready Steady Cut described Crush as “cute, but fails to go beyond rom-com clichés that make Crush customary and predictable” (Ready Steady Cut). However, other reviews highlighted the film’s ability to resonate with audiences of all ages. Digital Trends noted that Crush delivers a fun, funny, and sincere story about love and self-discovery (Digital Trends).


Crush (2022) is a heartfelt and engaging coming-of-age romantic comedy that explores themes of self-discovery, acceptance, and the complicatedities of teenage love. The film’s ending, which sees Paige and AJ embracing their feelings for each other, provides a satisfying conclusion to their journey. The revelation of King Pun’s identity adds depth to the narrative, while the final scene symbolizes a new beginning for the characters.

Despite some criticisms regarding its adherence to rom-com clichés, Crush succeeds in delivering a relatable and charming story that resonates with audiences. The film’s focus on art as a form of expression and its portrayal of teenage love make it a noteworthy addition to the genre.


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