Compelling if you're a fan. A bore if you're not.
Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry is a documentary which follows pop sensation Billie Eilish in the lead-up to her 2019 debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?. It features behind-the-scenes footage from her studio (read: bedroom), video shoots, and concert performances.
Here be spoilers…
What we like
Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry feels relatable yet extraordinary at the same time. The documentary shows off clips of Billie and her brother Finneas writing and recording songs in a cozy bedroom, as I'm sure thousands of other people do every day as well. The only difference is that her songs now have billions of streams on Spotify. And we're watching her practise sessions on Apple TV.
It quickly becomes apparent that there's a very real teenager behind Billie's celebrity persona which the world has become familiar with over the past three years. Someone who can't help but doubt themselves, despite the affirmation of millions. Someone who's going through the same stages of angst and anxiety as one does on their way to adulthood. At one point, Billie says, "Justin Bieber could ask me to kill my dog and I would." I think that about sums it up.
There are glimpses into a life of young stardom which shine a light on the struggles that accompany fame. Justin Bieber and Katy Perry, both of whom were in Billie's shoes not too long ago, are seen offering her advice on how to navigate the freight train of success that's headed her way. Billie's parents speak on their newfound understanding of why teenage celebrities struggle to cope, especially when they don't have an adult to guide them through these pivotal years.
The pressures of being a mainstream artist also become apparent. At one point, Finneas attempts to convince Billie that their album single needs to be conventional and accessible. This isn't something she needed to worry about before signing to a label. Now, there's a need to align her art with the business side of things, and watching Billie come to terms with it makes for a telling dynamic.
What we don't like
Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry is a mess. The first hour is strung together in the most incohesive manner imaginable. It's like going through one of those IG stories — you know, the ones where the timers at the top look like dots instead of lines. One moment, Billie's talking about her Tourette's. Next, it's a clip ranting about her boyfriend. And then, it's a live performance. It's as if the director was determined to use every bit of footage which they recorded. There's little structure, boring visuals — largely made up of phone camera footage — and no story.
The relatability, which first comes off as one of the film's strengths, soon overdoes its way into downfall territory. Watching Billie record songs in her bedroom is interesting. Watching her apply for a driving license is not. Even less so when it doesn't even make an effort to tie into the broader context. In fact, simply claiming that this film has a broader context is a stretch. There are far too many meandering plot lines, quite a few of no consequence.
This documentary should've started an hour in and gotten rid of another thirty minutes of footage thereon. In fact, I'd recommend watching from the Coachella build-up and then skipping your way through till the end. You can come back to the first half if you really find yourself all that interested.
Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry stays true to its title. Unfortunately.