At the age of 13, Billie Eilish posts “Ocean Eyes” online. What a debut. Three years later, fans are crying, screaming when they meet her. Billie performs like she’s lived on the stage all her life, singing beautifully, jumping all over the place, bringing an infectious energy as the audience dances and sings along with gusto. She tells us that she doesn’t see her followers as “fans”, but as “part of her.”
‘The World’s a Little Blurry’ depicts a broad, fascinating insight into who Billie Eilish is and how her career has exploded in the past couple of years. The intimacy of the moments caught on camera are striking, and most touching and revelatory of all are the singer’s interactions with her family. You’re consistently reminded that in spite her maturity, Billie is still just a kid, and that makes her accomplishments and bold vulnerability all the more impressive.
After a surreal concert scene (such events feel like a lifetime ago), Billie describes how music has always been a part of her family and upbringing. We get an insight into her innovation and creativity as she shows us a sketch that represents a song she wrote, and makes a home video to outline what she wants her music video to look like. In the actual filming of the video, she’s so hands on. Gone is the manipulation of the studio and producer that so many music artists have had to endure over the years.
Yet there are great challenges too, as the doc delves into an injury Billie had as a dancer, which still flares up at times, because she throws herself into performances and refuses to give less than 100%. She can come across as a bit fussy, but then she is a teenager, a perfectionist, and sweetly, deeply insecure. She cares so much about all she does, and seeing those more vulnerable and at times negative sides to her, just makes her more human.
There are some very sweet moments, such as a meeting with Katy Perry’s fiancé Orlando Bloom, which sees the actor and Billie mutually fangirl over one another. Her adoration of Justin Bieber is also adorable, and it makes sense considering the parallels between them as young artists who became suddenly, enormously famous. It’s a status that Billie understandably struggles with, and towards the end of the doc, Billie fights with her mum Maggie Baird on the tour bus over a meet and greet she had to do with the honcho’s friends and relatives, embittered at the “random kids who only want a picture with me”. She’s frustrated at not knowing who to suck up to, and annoyed that she has to keep smiling “or they’ll hate her”.
The family dynamics are where ‘The World’s a Little Blurry’ feels at its most authentic and insightful. We see her and her producer brother Finneas working on “Bad Guy”, and they have a fun relationship. It’s interesting to see Finneas reflect on Billie’s insecurities (she’s hesitant to write songs because the more popular they are, the more bad traction they get). Maggie, being your atypical mom, suggests Billie make her songs more accessible. She also says she doesn’t like the song in which Billie talks about jumping off a roof. She gets in a tizzy too when Billie drives off to meet her boyfriend. Elsewhere, Maggie talks about it being a scary time to be a teenager, which is reflected in her daughter’s music.
The documentary also depicts Bille writing the James Bond song “No Time to Die”, concluding with her range of Grammy award wins in 2020. Watch out for cute little Billie after the credits as another reminder of just how amazing and enchanting this kid is.
'Billie Eilish: The World's A Little Blurry' is streaming on Apple TV+ now.