Driving school

Movie Review: “Driving Home 2 U: A SOUR Film” by Olivia Rodrigo

“How would I describe this last chapter of my life? Olivia Rodrigo opens Disney+the last docu-film of Drive home 2 U. It’s a very valid question, coming from the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, because it’s hard to imagine a world before Olivia Rodrigo was a household name. However, this only happened a little over a year ago and apparently all of this in one night.

No stranger to the public eye, Olivia Rodrigo started out as a child star on disney channelit’s Bizaardvarkand landed the role of Gabriella 2.0 AKA Nini in the Disney+ original series, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Yet it was actually her debut single, “Drivers License”, that turned Miss Rodrigo into a star.

Released this Friday, March 25 on Disney+, this “ACID film “offers Olivia the space to unpack her truth of her year-long whirlwind and delves into the creative process behind her record-breaking debut album, ACID. Part documentary and part concert, the public discovers some variations of Olivia Rodrigo during the film. One Olivia is young and still discovering the power of her own voice in her childhood bedroom while writing songs that will one day appear on a Grammy-worthy album. Another Olivia is busy in the studio and determined to bring her art to life. While the third and final version of Rodrigo in the film is our narrator, the current Olivia; sounding a little wiser, a little more solid, “but just as sensitive and emotive” as ever. All versions are masterful in their craft, unafraid to be vulnerable, and push beyond their years (no pun intended).

Drive home 2 U presents pictures of the ACID the album’s origin paired with laid-back, candid reflections from Olivia today as she “revisits the songs with older eyes”. Road tripping from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles, the two places where she wrote most of the album, Olivia sifts through the track listing (in the order she wrote them) and offers viewers reimagined renditions, like the standout song of “Jalousie, Jalousie.” Written on the constant comparisons created by the presence of social media, the song is interpreted as a more daring version featuring Rodrigo swinging under car ramps with his all-female band as they provide background vocals influenced by the riots.

Knowing Olivia’s background, it’s no surprise that the visuals throughout the Drive home 2 U are just as on-brand as they are stellar. If you’re a ’90s kid (and it’s okay if you’re not because Olivia isn’t either), you’ll appreciate the retro touch of cinematography, with the adjacent butterflies of Lisa Frank dotted, small-rimmed sunglasses and multi-patterned outfits. The outstanding imagery only intensifies as she continues her travels and performances. As she sings her third single from ACID “good 4 u”, Olivia is not only supported by the strings of the violins, she is in the middle of a barren desert, Red Rock Canyon, California, performing a performance that could be described as worthy of a movie Jump.

Jump into recording sessions of ACID, Olivia is presented as a rather impressive musician. She brings her original lyrics to every session, sits right next to the soundboard with notes in mind, and with guitar in hand she sets up the very melodies that her fans can’t get away from. their head. Most of the time, she only records in the studio with her producer, Dan Nigro, and from the beginning they are presented as a natural couple. In front of the camera, the duo write “brutal”, the first song on the song list, in one day and unknowingly return the trajectory of pop music to the era of princess punk and the angst of the teenagers.

In the studio opening sequence, Dan Nigro plays the first song they wrote together and Olivia sighs about her past, “Sad, Olivia, Sad”. He plays some more as she laughs, “And I still can’t get over it!” Sadness and reflection become recurring themes in these sessions and in the film as a whole, as we watch the star address, process, and finally come to terms with her grief.

“You can never lie to yourself when you’re writing a song,” Rodrigo notes. Perhaps that’s exactly why this performer has found herself in the unique position of winning an audience spanning generations; because she is telling the truth. Although she is one of the first mainstream Gen Z superstars, her words are captivating and encouraging to hear, especially from such a young woman. Diving into the “crushing inferiority of the soul” that she speaks of is no easy task, but when the words are finally there, as in Olivia’s words, people feel seen and heard and suddenly, no longer find themselves alone, but in community with their heartache.

Rodrigo shares that she feels like she’s “aged five years in the last year,” and her wise wisdom throughout the documentary makes it feel that way. The Olivia we hear about today in the film seems a little more healed and a lot more introspective. Looking at her music as a form of catharsis, she recognizes the ACID album as a difficult time in her youth when she was learning about love. Influenced by country and pop stars before her, Olivia is genuinely unapologetic in her work; she is not going fair overcome that, she won’t be ashamed of her sadness, and she’s not going to shut up about it… maybe we could all benefit from being a little more like that.

“I hope I won’t be so sad on the next record! she exclaims as she finishes her last recording session. The film ends on the beaches of Malibu and audiences get one last look at Olivia personifying the joy of youth and encapsulating artistic freedom. At just 19 today, the influence Rodrigo has had on the music industry over the past year cannot be discredited. With her powerful voice, musical talents and incredible sense of design and storytelling, the ACID the film is just the latest proof of his genius. Whether you’re new to Miss Rodrigo’s musical styles or you’re already a certified “Livie,” this film will open you up to a whole new level of appreciation and keep you wondering about the soundtrack.

Take a look inside the making of Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour album in Driving Home 2 U: A SOUR Movie streaming on Disney+ this Friday, March 25.