By Erin Holly McDermott, Editorial Staff ‘23
Along for the Ride is a new Netflix movie centered around two characters, Auden and Eli, in Colby, North Carolina. The film is adapted from Sarah Dessen’s book of the same name, which has been loved since its release in 2009. However, does the movie live up to the book rendition of the same story?
This movie, a light film filled with picturesque summer scenery, is something to be enjoyed. The premise behind the story is that Auden moves away from her mother’s controlling grasp to live with her father in Colby, whom she has not spent much time with following their divorce. Auden has yet to “live her life” —she hasn’t attended prom, never spends much time with friends, and has not even learned to do typical, child-like activities (the fact that a huge part of the plot revolves around). Contrastingly, Eli, a resident of Colby, has spent his entire life in his childhood fantasy of competitive BMX racing. The pair have a quite cliche first encounter down at a pier and fall in love. The plot is rather typical and, some dare say, boring. However, the nuances are established through the character’s backstories: Eli has a past that makes it difficult for him to center conversations around himself, while Auden is struggling to maintain relationships with her father and her new step-mother and -sister. The movie was enjoyable. It was relatively light, save for putting in the effort to understand the characters’ backstory. The producers did not completely miss the plot laid out in the book, but the depth of the character development was confined to the movie’s 1-hour, 46-minute long duration. The struggle and displeasure with this movie come after reading the literary adaptation. Sarah Dessen’s book was 100% better than the movie, which is typical in the film industry. The audience can recognize several positive attributes of the movie: the soundtrack, written by the duo ‘Beach House,’ was decent; the cinematography was warm and fuzzy, and the characters were relatable to a younger audience. The supporting characters played a large enough role in the plot that it was interesting, yet the love story between the main characters was still showcased. On that note, Along for the Ride lacks the lewd imagery and depictions that the teenage audience has become accustomed to, although this did not come as a shock when considering the nature of both the book.
All in all, the movie was enjoyable. It was funny and refreshing, the music was good, and the characters were likable. Anyone who watched it once would probably watch it again, and maybe even for the third time. It should be noted that the plot was somewhat predictable, the characters were not as well-represented as their literary counterparts, and something was lacking in the closing minutes. If you’re looking for a lighthearted, easy-going film to watch, this one is highly recommended. However, don’t expect guts, glory, glamor, or grievous scenes. While the movie left behind a slight feeling of unfulfillment, after reading the book, it doesn’t leave you angry about watching it, and neither should you be if you choose to watch it as well.