On that discussion comments, UnicornJessie wrote:
"Not quite, but you have to look into the metaphorical meaning of the movie, not the literal one. You have to understand that the movie is metaphorically a take on life. You're a shining, bright, and happy kid and then you get a glimpse of the real world and it takes a while until you find a chance at happiness again--this is represented through Natalie. Ryan represents the next stage of life--you think you're happy. You think this could be your life forever and you'll be content with it, but something comes along to change it. You're devastated, and you try to move on in the only way you know how, in that false sense of happiness you created for yourself. Alex represents the final stage of life--you know the life you're living is a fake one. You try to escape, you try to be happy in a separate little world you've created and are the mastermind of, but you know all that's a sham too.
The ending of the movie leaves us with Natalie going on to the rest of her life. She doesn't come into play because she represents the beginning of it all, the time when we have to learn or we're destined to live a falsely happy life. We see Ryan going off to try to break his false happiness and find his true happiness, and we see Alex going back to try and be content in her falsely happy world. The message was this all may happen to you, but it's natural and you have to try to continue on, just as Ryan is trying to. It's a really deep message, if you think about it."