Dear David Ending Explained – Is Lara’s secret revealed?

By Nicole Ackman
Published: February 12, 2023

We discuss the ending of the 2023 Netflix film Dear David which will contain spoilers.

The latest of Netflix’s many teen dramas is the Indonesian film Dear David. It’s a unique premise for a high school film. In my review for Ready Steady Cut, I wrote:

Between helping the principle, staying at the top of her classes, and attending church with her mom, Laras doesn’t have much time left for a social life — so she indulges in her fanfiction in which she images herself in varying romantic encounters with David. He’s not only a talented athlete at school, she also knows him from church and their parents encourage their tentative friendship.

Naturally, because this is a film, Laras’s writing blog on which she publishes her fanfiction about her and David gets leaked to the whole school, leading to a hunt to find out who the author is. Unfortunately, the film didn’t hold together for me, especially its ending. In my review, I explain:

Dear David seems promising in the first 45 minutes, with its unique premise and decent performances from Cinnamon and Lewis. Unfortunately, the characters have stale chemistry together and the film lasts for far too long, overstaying its welcome for at least thirty minutes too long. Despite the other ways in which it provides positive representation for characters not seen often enough in this genre, the way that it blindly excuses Laras’s behavior

Dear David Ending Explained

When another story about David goes viral and is credited to Dilla, she is suspended from school for ten days. She decides to show up to a big game and kiss David during the match, accepting his wish to date her and taking control of the narrative about her. However, it’s clear that she’s not actually interested in David at all, but someone else. Laras is upset about David and Dilla getting together, but isn’t willing to attempt to break them up.

Does David return Laras’s feelings?

On a church retreat, David has a panic attack in front of Laras, and the way that she talks him down from it ends up letting him know how much she really cares about him. It makes him realize that he actually wants to be with Laras, not Dilla, so he goes to break things off with her when he gets home. Dilla is upset but becomes irate when she sees a message from Laras on the phone that David accidentally left behind. In the message, Laras confesses her love for David but also mentions being the author of the stories circulating the school.

What happens when Dilla finds out the truth?

When David returns for his phone, he encounters the angry Dilla and warns Laras about her anger — and that she knows Laras’s secret. When Laras arrives at school the next day, everyone is aware that she is the true author and the principal is furious with her. She takes her phone away, but Laras is more upset by her confrontation with Dilla who rightfully tells her that she has hurt people other than herself because of her unwillingness to tell the truth.

Does Laras apologize to Dilla?

Laras finally feels ashamed of her actions and confesses to her mother. However, going against stereotypes we often see in this genre of film, her mother is very supportive of her and tells her that it’s normal to fail sometimes. She then goes to Dilla’s house and climbs over the fence, hurting her knee in the process. Dilla lets her in and patches her up but then tells her she has to leave. Laras asks her to drive her home.

Who does Dilla have a crush on?

On the ride back to Laras’s house, Dilla finally admits that she is in love with her former best friend. While Laras doesn’t return her feelings, she does assure Dilla that she supports her and wants to be her best friend again. It’s a sweet moment of inclusion in the film and doesn’t feel forced.

Does Laras get kicked out of school?

The principal tells Laras that she will not be expelled, but her scholarship will be taken away and she must publicly apologize for writing the stories. She’s appalled to find out that the boy, Arya, who leaked the stories isn’t being punished at all. So in a speech in front of the whole school, Laras apologizes to Dilla and David before pointing out the school’s hypocrisy in its treatment of her and Arya. The students cheer her on, though it does seem strange that Laras doesn’t have to grapple more with the morality of having published her smutty fanfiction about her classmate publicly.

Do Laras and David end up together?

The film ends with Laras and David as a couple, and Laras feeling much more confident in herself. We also see Dilla talking to a girl that she seems into and the film hints that her feelings might be returned, giving us hope that she’ll find someone to date. It’s an overly happy ending that doesn’t care to complicate issues of privacy in favor of championing a young woman’s right to her sexuality. Which is a commendable thing to celebrate, surely, but not at the expense of creating uncomplicated narratives.

What did you think of the ending of the 2023 Netflix film Dear David? Comment below.

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