Olivia Rodrigo: Driving Home 2 U Review: There is Something Sweet About this SOUR Film

Most people know Olivia Rodrigo as the insanely popular and quite talented singer-songwriter who took the world by storm with her debut single drivers license. Directed by documentary filmmaker Stacey Lee, Driving Home 2 u follows the aftermath of the release of Rodrigo’s debut single and consequently, her first album, Sour. At 1 hour and 16 minutes, the film is shot during a road trip between Salt Lake City, Utah and Los Angeles, California. Shot like a travelogue, Driving Home 2 u depicts the beautiful, albeit rugged, country Western-like scenery of America.

– Driving Home 2 U review does not contain spoilers –

Olivia Rodrigo: driving home 2 u – Life and Melodies

The documentary starts with Rodrigo and her co-composer and producer, Dan Nigro working on the final draft of the album, Sour. It is a younger Rodrigo who is screaming at her first song, drivers license, playing on the radio in her car. “There is nothing that is a truer window into human emotion than music”, quips Rodrigo while talking about her drive to make music. She then goes on to perform her songs along the road trip in various desolate spots in the American desert. The scenery- the long, dry roads and the endless horizon- fits in well with the angsty but lonesome mood of Rodrigo’s music.

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One after the other, all the songs of Sour are played with her all-female band, although each with a fresh arrangement. Each song is presented with a background story of its own followed by a refreshing live performance by Rodrigo and the band in various locations between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. As the viewer watches Rodrigo recount her experiences suffering heartbreak as a teenager, it becomes clear why she has become a household name.

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Olivia Rodrigo, in her seemingly simple and expressive lyrics, has managed to communicate emotions that are universal. The feelings of angst, inferiority and loneliness are the ones that all of us have felt once in a while, especially when one is trying to figure oneself out, being new to the harshness of the world. One of the reasons Rodrigo has burst upon the world music scene is because she does not feel ashamed to feel so much and to be able to express all of this artistically. Born in a generation surrounded by social media which gives one every possible opportunity to express themselves, Rodrigo, much like Billy Eilish, has become one of the beacons of the current generation.

Before she ventured into the music industry, Rodrigo had been working as a Disney child actress. Such an early introduction to the entertainment industry has obviously had a big impact on her, especially on her self image, a theme which she explores in jealousy, jealousy. Fueled by social media, Rodrigo talks about the way social media changed her self perception for the worse. As she sings “their beauty is not my lack/but it feels like that”, we see not just her disillusionment with herself but also her anger come to the surface in the punk-pop rendition of the song.

Visually Driving Home 2 u looks like a long Instagram Reel with the grainy filter on. In many places the documentary keeps Rodrigo in focus with longing on her face, looking at the horizon while her music plays in the background. It becomes a very intensive and personal film, depicting Rodrigo and occasionally, Dan Nigro and her other collaborators. There is almost no starstruck audience, except for her performance montage of drivers license, where we see the audience singing with her. This lack of everyone else, even her family, makes the figure of Rodrigo a grand but approachable figure of the girl-next-door with whom people can relate.

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Driving Home 2 u reminds one of the various documentaries that have come over the years, of musicians and their careers. For example, Hilary Duff had one called Hilary Duff: Learning to Fly (2004), Miley Cyrus’s Miley: The Movement (2013) or Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana (2020). While these documentaries came out after these artists had already had a successful career and a few albums under their belt, Olivia Rodrigo can not boast of such a feat in such a short time. More than a reminiscent film, which it tries very hard to be, Driving Home 2 u seems more like an accompaniment to her debut and groundbreaking album Sour.

It also cannot be discounted as a mere publicity stunt, as we see a more mature and self-aware side of Rodrigo in the film. As the singer of Happier says in the beginning, this documentary is about her visiting the past with “older eyes”. We now see Rodrigo question her motivations for making music now that she has moved on from her lost love and is no longer brokenhearted.

In the end, the older and wiser Olivia becomes hopeful towards the future and looks forward to making better music. The film also presents a pleasant surprise for her fans with two unreleased songs as snippets.

You can watch Olivia Rodrigo: driving home 2 u on Disney+ Hotstar. Go watch and experience the beauty of Olivia Rodrigo’s music yourself.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Overall

SUMMARY

Olivia Rodrigo: driving home 2 u is a documentary film that follows her nostalgic drive from between Salt Lake City to Los Angeles, where she wrote a lot of her debut album Sour.

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Olivia Rodrigo: driving home 2 u is a documentary film that follows her nostalgic drive from between Salt Lake City to Los Angeles, where she wrote a lot of her debut album Sour. Olivia Rodrigo: Driving Home 2 U Review: There is Something Sweet About this SOUR Film