Along for the Ride tells about Auden (Emma Pasarow) and the summer she spends in a small beach town before her first year of college. It was directed and written by Sofia Alvarez based on the novel by Sarah Dessen.
Along for the Ride is part romance, part friendship goals, part parental relationships, and part coming of age. While it has many of the tropes associated with each of those genres, it puts them all together in a fairly original way.
Auden was raised by her mother (Andie MacDowell). She’s one of those Booksmart kids, who never did anything in school but work. She’s going to spend the summer “bonding” with her dad (Dermot Mulroney) in his beach town. Dad has a new wife, Heidi (Kate Bosworth), and a newborn baby. He’s no better in the dad department with his newborn than he’s been with Auden, which is awful.
Heidi arranges for Auden to work in her store. Three girls already work there: Maggie (Laura Kariuki), Leah (Genevieve Hannelius), and Esther (Samia Finnerty). Auden has never had girlfriends. Slowly, over the summer, she learns to be a friend from these three who insist she becomes of of them. Maggie, especially, becomes important to her.
Auden can’t sleep. She goes out to the pier in the middle of the night to read. There she meets Eli (Belmont Cameli), who has his own reasons for being unable to sleep. Eli is only 20, but he’s a former BMX biking champion who says he’s “retired” from the sport.
The relationships between the girls, between Auden and Eli, and between Auden and her various parental figures all evolve over the summer. It’s a point in time where Auden changes in ways that will determine the remainder of her life.
The film is a bit of coming of age fun. Emma Pasarow is a talent with promise I hope to see again. You can see the film on Netflix.