At best, I’d call myself a casual fan of Billie Eilish’s music, so I didn’t have the biggest level of anticipation towards the new film Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry. My earliest exposure to the multiple-Grammy-winning artist was via the soundtrack of 2017’s explosive first season of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. I took note as her tracks began popping up throughout pop culture in both television and film, like Everything, Everything and Locke & Key. I’ve listened to her album When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? once through and haven’t revisited it since. To say that I’m not the intended audience for this music documentary would be a massive understatement. Despite all of that, I found plenty to unpack from Apple TV’s newest outing. This is an impressive, complicated, fascinating biography that charts the popular singer through some of her biggest milestones, both in career and personally, from If I Stay director R.J. Cutler. It paints Eilish with vibrant colors and delivers a fully-fleshed examination even at her most peculiar.
A mixture of live performances and home footage, The World’s A Little Blurry documents 17-year-old musician Billie Eilish’s rise to fame as she juggles life on tour, young love, her family life, and the conception of her Grammy-winning debut album. Starting with talent shows where her entire family was musically involved, the teenager explodes overnight after her first song “Ocean Eyes” goes viral. From there, the pressure is on to deliver a product worthy of a hungry fanbase anxious for content.
My favorite thing about this documentary is the concert experience of it all which makes you feel like you’re right in the thick of her performances and provides an unparalleled level of connection. Billie has an energy and vibrance when she’s on stage as she embodies her songs. That she handles this level of fame at such a young age is frequently shocking that she manages to stay quite so level-headed. Sometimes she’s messy as she forgets lyrics or starts crying mid-song, but it’s all part of the appeal. She feels so vulnerable and so human during these scenes that it warmed me to her significantly. That vulnerability extends toward her early opinions on the fandom, a meet and greet fiasco that paints her in a relatable light, her fangirl adoration towards Justin Bieber, and a meeting with Katy Perry where Eilish thinks Orlando Bloom is “just some dude Katy Perry met.” Billie stays humble even as her star rises to greater heights than she could’ve imagined even in her wildest dreams.
Billie Eilish is a visionary artist with a very particular aesthetic and a hatred for songwriting, and this biographical documentary takes you deep into her life like never before. There are times when you really feel the bloated length towards the middle – this movie is so long it has a semi-ridiculous intermission – but a deep dive into Eilish’s private life keeps it all fresh and captivating. I walked away with a much clearer understanding of her layered persona and a grasp on the types of people she’s able to touch with her music. For fans of Eilish, they will be in heaven as this documentary explores so many defining moments of her career and rise to fame. If there’s one big takeaway, I’ll definitely be giving When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? a long overdue second listen. Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry comes to Apple TV+ on Friday, February 26th.