Let’s address the elephant in the room before we begin: this intrepid writer isn’t much of a fan of Billie Eilish, arguably the biggest music star on the planet right now. That’s not to say I’m not a fan out of dislike, far from it – heck, who hasn’t had a bit of a moshpit-like dance to the chorus of Bad Guy? – but by that, we mean that aside from dancing badly and knowing who she is, our paths on Spotify haven’t crossed very much so it’s through admiration rather than fandom that I’ve connected with her. That was until this fascinating, insightful, and brilliant documentary came along and gave our admiration a huge shot in the arm. The blur, shall we say, became so much clearer.
Following Eilish on her journey from bedroom singer to fully-fledged superstar and everything in between, The World’s A Little Blurry is undeniably brilliant and for fans young and old – and, of course, us admirers – it’s an extraordinary all-access dive into her world and the one around her, with the fame and applause as thunderous as the forces that want to extract every ounce for their own gains. Indeed, this acts as something of a companion piece to the equally eye-opening Framing Britney Spears: their aims are slightly different, but both act as a fascinating look into the world of fame, fortune, and the pressures that come with it.
Director R.J. Cutler’s fly-on-the-wall portrait is more concerned about expression and creation, taking residence with Eilish and her family, specifically focusing on the bedroom where she and brother/producer Finneas O’Connell (their family name) have spent much of their time. Writing and performing songs that would form the basis of “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?“, an album that would see them scoop countless awards and break multiple records, provides a compelling insight into the artist and the performer. This isn’t for the fame, this is for the passion above all.
Of course, as Eilish‘s star ascends and her tour becomes further reaching (in more ways than one), we get to see her in her element, performing across the world through all the ups (Coachella) and downs (injuring her ankle in Italy on stage) whilst she is beset by more and more people wanting their slice. Unmoved and unwavering, it’s her thirst for artistry and to say and write what she is feeling that separates her from other manufactured colleagues and that refreshing nature makes her, and the film, all the more compelling
Such is the price of celebrity these days, every minutia of their being is laid bare whether they want to or not but Eilish has, comparatively, kept as level ahead as she can despite her own insecurities and problems with depression. Cutler‘s film, though, is warts and all – such is life – particularly in the music world, and his remarkable film/chronicle is all the more refreshing for it.
Documentary, Biography | USA, 2021 | 15 | 26th February 2021 | Apple TV+ | Dir. RJ Cutler | Billie Eilish