At the age of only thirteen, Billie Eilish released a song called Ocean Eyes and then the world broke. Three years later everything in Billie’s life was changing. It was the start of something big, she was a true overnight success. Nobody had heard of her one day, then next she became a music sensation. Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry is a documentary on how her life has blossomed in that time. From her creative process, to touring, her love life, her friendships and the many Grammy nominations (and wins), to her downfalls and injuries, to forgetting song lyrics and going through the normal heartbreak all 17-year-olds go through. This is the story of how a regular teenage girl went on to become a global phenomenon within the space of only a few years.
Billie Eilish is loved by millions with 76.4 million Instagram followers at the time of writing. With songs like Bad Guy, Bury a Friend, All The Good Girls Go To Hell, You Should See Me In a Crown, My Strange Addiction and of course Ocean Eyes, it’s no doubt that Billie has shot to stardom by popular demand. This documentary by R.J.Cutler is a fantastic insight into the world of Billie and how she creates her music. It features the highs, the lows, the good and the bad. Nothing is off limits. The only downside I would say is that it runs at 2 hours 20 minutes, which is a tad too long and it does feel like it drags at times.
It isn’t just her that creates the magic of her music, but her brother Finneas who is also her producer and writes a lot of her songs. They collaborated intensely on her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? sitting on her brother’s bed in their family home in Los Angeles. The documentary also provides a miniature concert in your own home, with scenes dedicated to performances Billie gave whilst on tour in the US, Europe, Australia and Milan. It’s fascinating to watch, as she opens up on how she suffers with tourettes, and that no matter how much pain she experiences when touring, her determination to give it her best no matter what is palpable. She would much prefer to cancel her performance if she knew she couldn’t provide something perfect. Luckily she has a solid team (including her family) to encourage her and bring her down to earth, to tell her to get back on that stage because every single person in the crowd is there to see her. There is a sense of insecurity with her, which allows her fans to relate to. She speaks to the crowd and says “I’m a nobody, why do you like me?” at which the response is a very loud cheer and whooping noise, which makes her smile and start to sing. “They’re not my fans, they’re part of me”.
We sense the good fortune that her family is musical and always supportive. They are with her all the way, on tour, at home – working with her and helping her to shape herself to be who she wants to be, and not who people want her to be. She is adamant with that, especially with her songs. Often she would get criticised for how dark her music is, but she would simply respond by saying she only knows how to feel dark and she only creates songs based on how she feels, because at the end of the day that’s the “best kind of music”. If there was one word to describe how Billie is, it would be “unconventional”, because that’s exactly what she is. She’s an unconventional “pop star”… and everyone loves it. She is completely herself and very unique, and seems to be a genuine soul.
When someone so young becomes successful it is too easy to foget they are also just human. Like me, like you. What is clear and beautiful to see in the film is how she lights up when she’s with her fans, interacting and performing for them. It comes naturally to her, and the automatic spark that makes her face so bright with smiles lights up. This is what she was born to do, and from what we see – she’s brilliant at it.
This documentary is a great piece of entertainment, beautifully capturing Billie’s life and her essence and is intimate and insightful. It travels through the year she turned 17 to when she was 18 and won her (first of many) Grammys. “I’m afraid I’ll wake up and I won’t have this anymore”. It’s safe to say, Billie Eilish won’t be going anywhere for a long time.
“Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry” will be released in theaters by NEON and premieres globally on Apple TV+ on February 26, 2021.