“Along for the Ride,” primarily based on the favored YA romance novel by Sarah Dessen, tells us properly from the start what we’re in for. Auden (performed by Emma Pasarow with quiet thoughtfulness) is that critical high school senior who doesn’t associate with the normal commencement prank, as a result, she believes that “as a transgressive act, it’s faulty.” Not that she has ever finished something transgressive in her life; she’s the quintessential good woman who made the respect position, bought a school scholarship, and admits she was “more interested in working hard so the rest of my life could be great.”
Auden wonders, with the summer season forward of her, whether or not now may very well be the time to see if she will get the nice half began. She has determined to stick with her father and stepmother, who stay in a seaside city known as Colby. At residence, she says, she solely is aware of being one sort of individual. “Maybe if I go to Colby, I can be somebody else.”
In case you hope that as an alternative she should be extra authentically herself and that she is going to discover some assistance in that from a good-looking teen boy, accompanied by frequent micro-doses of what the closed captions name “melodic indie music,” you’ve come to the proper place. If you’d like greater than the primary verse of a track, perhaps not.
At first, Auden acts like it’s Reverse Day, not interested in what she needs, simply no matter if she has not finished earlier. However then she meets the play-by-the-rules good woman’s equal of the legendary “manic pixie dream girl,” which I’ll deem the “soulful faun dream boy.” That’s Eli (Belmont Cameli, in a task designed to be someplace between John Cusack of “Say Anything,” Heath Ledger in “10 Things I Hate About You,” and Moondoggie in “Gidget”). He affords to take her on a “quest” to make amends for all of the foolish enjoyment her critical mom thought was a waste of time. He’s a little bit of a loner, so she will reunite him together with his associates. He’s unhappy, and she will get him to speak about it. They usually give one another an opportunity to inform some tales and acknowledge some truths they haven’t even admitted to themselves.
The film will get a lift from Andie MacDowell as Auden’s mom, who reveals up on the pastel-and-seashell seaside group in very soigné black. MacDowell provides simply the proper, barely brittle chew to strains like, “You’ll have to forgive me if I find it alarming how easily you’ve adapted to the world of your father’s new wife,” nonetheless making it clear to us, if not Auden, that it’s much less from snobbery than the concern of shedding her daughter as she leaves residence for school.
Dessen, who additionally co-scripted with director Sofia Alvarez, reveals to us that it isn’t simply Eli who makes the distinction for Auden. A few of the film’s greatest scenes are about Auden’s creating friendships with the opposite women who work at her stepmother’s boutique, performed by Genevieve Hannelius, Laura Kariuki, and Samia Finnerty. Fortunately, whereas there are a number of awkward adjustment moments, Dessen gracefully bypasses the too-frequent plot strains about imply women or misunderstandings, and it’s heartening to see good, assured younger ladies supporting one another—and having fun with goofy dance breaks. She additionally affords us a way of group, connection, and custom paying homage to “Gilmore Girls’” Stars Hole, and touches on the challenges and significance of serving to and asking for assistance. Most vital, Auden reveals to us that opening herself as much as understanding her personal emotions and taking danger provides her new insights about those around her, particularly her mother and father, and stepmother. She comes away not like anyone else however as a more true model of herself. There could also be nothing new within the message however that doesn’t imply we needn’t hear it.
Now enjoying on Netflix.