Project UnLonely Films Season 7

On the Ride

Jen McGowan

On his morning bike ride, a man grapples with the memories of a traumatic event, but when his route takes an unexpected turn, he finds himself on the doorstep of a stranger intimately connected to a past he can’t shake.

Consider This

Watch this video to explore the film’s meaning and major themes a bit more. Talking with others about a shared arts experience can enrich our perspectives. Share your thoughts in the comment section, below!

Meet the Filmmaker

What is their why?

Jen McGowan is a director based in Los Angeles. Her recent feature film, the survival thriller, Rust Creek, was released in theaters by IFC Midnight, and hailed as “the feminist thriller Hollywood needs right now” by Harper’s Bazaar. When it dropped on Netflix, it premiered at #3 of all film & tv in the U.S. and stayed in the top ten for over a week. Rust Creek made the top ten on Netflix in 40 countries and was certified “fresh” 84% on Rotten Tomatoes.

McGowan’s first feature, the dramedy Kelly & Cal (Juliette Lewis & Cybill Shepherd), premiered at SXSW where she won the Gamechanger Award. The film was released theatrically by IFC Films to rave reviews (71% on Rotten Tomatoes). She got her start with award-winning short films, Confessions of a Late Bloomer and Touch, which played at over a hundred festivals worldwide winning the majority and qualifying for the Oscar.

In television, she has directed multiple episodes of Star Trek: Discovery for Secret Hideout/Paramount+ and Titans for HBOMax as well as episodes of The Twilight Zone for Monkeypaw/Paramount+ and The Purge for Blumhouse/USA. With her partner, Eliza Lee, she co-created the series, Angelica, about the last remaining abortion clinic in a small Midwest town, and Replica, the true story of a pair of unassuming high school teachers who after their deaths were discovered to have been prolific art thieves.

“As the writer, the inspiration for ‘On the Ride’ was always about finding connection and how we can even find it in some of the most unlikely places. We all go through our lives and journeys with our different histories and backgrounds, but we still struggle with similar themes of grief and loss. That loss makes us feel separated and alone. I wanted to give a glimpse into how the slightest of actions can help others in their lives and also create meaningful connections. We also never know how we can help others just by opening ourselves up and speaking our truth.”

Website / Facebook/ Instagram

Join The Conversation

How have you been able to accept kindness from strangers, even in unusual circumstances?


  1. Anonymous

    Beautiful! Well done. I felt so much sympathy when the bike rider got ran off the rode by the car that acknowledged, but didn’t stop. And great to watch him listen to the heart – he didn’t know he needed that, but it made it real.

  2. Crissy

    I started crying just a few scenes in. A quiet cry. The kind where only the tears form and drip out of your eyes without you realizing it’s happening. So well done. So true and honest. Thank you for the ride. We are all on one.

  3. Anonymous

    OMG, I cannot even tell you when I started to cry. Before the bike accident, and then, did not stop. The movie is heartbreaking and heart opening. You know the story is powerful, and the acting seemed just right.

  4. Marj Kleinman

    Beautiful film. Incredibly touching.


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