Olivia Rodrigo, the pop sensation whose global mega-hit ‘Driver’s License’ kick-started her career in 2021, naturally drives a car in the first film about her life.
She takes the same trip – Salt Lake City to Los Angeles – in director Stacey Lee’s film on Disney+ as she did to record her wildly popular debut album ‘Sour’. It’s a trek that puts Rodrigo in a reflective state, and Lee’s conversational film is attuned to the vintage tastes of a Gen Z audience that loves the grainiest of photo filters. Her subject’s musings feel exaggerated when paired with a retro-chic visual palette, so there are looks of intense longing that would make folklore-era Taylor Swift proud.
But the more Lee has Rodrigo staring into the distance, whether he’s alone in a hotel room or on a hill, the more it feels like a stage cue rather than an organic moment the camera just happened to capture. In the scenes where Rodrigo openly shares parts of her life that led to the creation of ‘Sour’, authenticity seems to come more easily.
As a performance piece, “Driving Home 2 U” is an exciting and intimate showcase for Rodrigo, as commentary on her album’s songs transitions seamlessly into the music-theatre style in “Sour” tunes. Songs have been rearranged and presented in breathtakingly beautiful places. It’s a film that at least manages to make you feel like it’s really about the journey, not the destination.
Olivia Rodrigo: Driving Home 2 U (a sour movie)
Not judged. Running time: 1 hour 17 minutes. Check out Disney+.