Olivia Rodrigo Shares the Emotions Behind “SOUR” In Her Film ”driving home 2 u” (Pop at Palmetto)

Ella Pedroso, Design Editor

On Mar. 25, Olivia Rodrigo — 19-year-old singer-songwriter — released a short film, “driving home 2 u,” via Disney+. The film takes a trip down memory lane as Rodrigo drives from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles, revisiting the memories which inspired her debut album, “SOUR”. 

To Rodrigo, the worst part of being in love is having something to lose. Shot in the style of an intimate series of video diary entries, the film taps into this theme of romantic vulnerability. With the film’s dreamy filters and romantic views of adolescence and femininity, Rodrigo displays a realistic view of how lonely love can feel. 

The film begins with Rodrigo’s reaction to her debut single, “drivers license,” playing on the radio and then shifts to a clip of her as a child, showing viewers her growth as an artist. Rodrigo grew up as a child actor, as seen in Disney’s “Bizaardvark” and Disney+’s “High School Musical The Musical: The Series.” As a child actor, many told her she was a star and had no space for errors, which ended up leaving Rodrigo with more insecurities. Rodrigo felt she was always lied to, setting higher expectations and becoming increasingly harsh on herself. Rodrigo’s insecurities about not being “enough,” reveal themselves in the making of “SOUR,” which she felt was not emotional enough and reached further into her heart to create transparent, emotional songs. 

Rodrigo expresses her frustration and the raw emotion of heartbreak and isolation through her songs, and takes her lyrics a step further through the visuals of the film. In the film, Rodrigo gives a more intimate performance of each song on the album, performed during her road trip. During her performance of “jealousy jealousy,” Rodrigo wears a more alternative outfit and grabs the mic as her and her all-female band sing the song with the passion of a growing rock star. “good 4 u” replaces its Paramore-inspired electric guitar with an orchestra, giving the song a more personal feel as Rodrigo shares how it felt to take longer to get over her heartbreak. 

Her album, “SOUR,” has a recurring subject of loneliness through Rodrigo’s breakup and youth. When Rodrigo felt she was alone, writing songs became a form of creating a friend for herself. As Rodrigo takes this journey, she reflects on the emotions that fueled those lyrics. In “deja vu,” Rodrigo reflects on how repetitive love can feel, as she aimed to make the song as specific as possible, in order to pinpoint exactly how it felt to see someone she loved with someone else. 

Throughout the film, viewers see behind the scene clips of Rodrigo with her producer, Dan Nigro, in the studio creating the album. Besides her father, Rodrigo says Nigro is one of the only people to give her honest feedback. As the film shows the creations of the songs, we see Rodrigo’s doubt in her work, and her desire to portray her emotions in a way the listener understands and connects with. As Rodrigo hears her old songs, she begins to cry, remembering how sad she felt when she wrote those lyrics. 

As Rodrigo travels in her blue Ford Bronco from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles for the second time since her album had been written, the nostalgic reflection of her growth through heartbreak and rise to fame shares another perspective on “SOUR’s” songs. Looking back on what she has learned, she demonstrates the second journey that her emotions had taken her on through the writing of “SOUR.”