Olivia Rodrigo’s career has been an absolute whirlwind since the release of “driver’s license” in early 2021. In the film, Rodrigo reflects and takes viewers to the places where every song from her debut album, ACID, was written. The road trip from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Los Angeles was one she had taken so many times as a child star. The film has a gritty, nostalgic film over the footage to match its current aesthetic.
Rodrigo created new arrangements of many songs from the album along with commentary that could have been shortened into a video for a deluxe album. Her commentary for each song features a few minutes of explanation of her inspiration for the song as well as clips of her in the studio with her producer, Dan Nigro.
The film was probably meant to feel more authentic, and it did so in studio sessions, but some shots felt forced and directed by Stacey Lee. There were scenes of her driving a vintage sky blue Ford Bronco and flaunting spacey looks in a hotel room. The movie started very slow and didn’t really pick up until the end when there were more clips from studio recordings than just Rodrigo’s comments.
Honestly, the film almost feels like a rehash of the drama surrounding the album. Of course, the album was inspired by her grief over a breakup with Joshua Bassett, but mentioning it was almost like saying “Voldemort” in the Harry Potter series.
She’s sitting in a room reading what appears to be a diary entry from the day she got her driver’s license. This scene seems almost immature, but it reminds the viewer that she was 17 when she made her entrance and is currently 19. Expect her movie to match Taylor Swift’s in-demand maturity too much because she is still learning and growing.
Rodrigo mentioned in his “déjà vu” comment that his intention was not to create drama or give in to the love triangle theory. She also didn’t want to try to create a narrative that she hated for other girls or wanted her fans to.
In the “enough for you” segment, Rodrigo mentions the stress of creating an album while being a child star. As a Disney kid, she thought no one would tell her the truth when she was wrong, so it created a lot of doubts. While creating the album, she was frustrated that many of her songs, especially “Enough for You”, sounded like the other songs on the album and were boring.
A last minute song to add to the album was “brutal”. Rodrigo and Nigro chat with others several days before the scheduled track listing date to add “another upbeat song”. She recorded the song just a day after creating the melody with Nigro. She explained how she felt constantly watched by anyone and everyone, which led her to create the nerve-wracking song.
The performances of each song are really what makes the movie, though. “Driving license” gets a chilling montage, which includes his first recording of the song and his most recent performances so viewers can see the creation and evolution process of the song record.
The film started with the track “happier”, given that it was one of her first songs written and also related to how she met Nigro. She performed the song with her band, and it was so much more energetic than the original. Rodrigo performed “favorite crime” with a dreamy surf guitar accompanying his grungy voice.
Towards the end of the film, she performed “treacherous” similar to an old-school Ed Sheeran loop effect with vocals, piano, and guitar. These new arrangements could hint at her upcoming tour arrangements if she chooses to change them from the original studio version.
The film ends with Rodrigo and his band racing in the ocean to cap off the road trip and an unreleased song. The end credits contain the highly anticipated extract from the song “baby is you”. She mentioned in an interview that it was her favorite song before the album was released.