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‘The World’s A Little Blurry’: Billie Eilish releases new documentary

Film offers candid, intimate look into Eilish’s creative process, daily life, mental health struggles

The artist documentary appears to be a deceptively simple concept. It’s all too easy to assume that if you follow a superstar around with a camera for long enough, you’ll stumble upon depth and greatness. 

Take Shawn Mendes’ “In Wonder” from earlier this year. What was marketed as a revealing portrait of the artist and his rise instead ended up being 90 minutes of promotional material for his latest album. As much as Mendes wanted to be seen as “ordinary,” the film could never escape from an air of fake depth. The promised look at the musician’s inner workings went only skin deep.

Billie Eilish’s new documentary, on the other hand, is everything that “In Wonder” tried to be. Tracing her journey from her 2016 debut to her 2020 Grammy Awards sweep, “The World’s A Little Blurry” pulled back the curtain on arguably one of pop music’s biggest enigmas today. The film, released exclusively on Apple TV+ last month, is made up of a patchwork of concert clips, home videos, interviews and professionally-shot footage, all of which ultimately construct a thought-provoking and deeply moving insight into her life.

In this documentary, nothing is off limits. We see Eilish fighting with her brother and producer, Finneas, over the creative direction of her debut album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?,” breaking down after a meet and greet and even revealing her romantic relationship with rapper 7:AMP (also known as “Q”) that she had kept hidden from the world. These moments were captivating not only for how raw and intimate they were, but also for the mere fact that we were being invited into them. 

Eilish is notoriously private, and this kind of access to her life is unprecedented. When we see her doing seemingly mundane things, it does not feel like a grasp for relatability but rather a candid portrait of her true character. When she gets her drivers’ license and drives off alone, her parents pace around the backyard worried about the fact that she doesn’t have her location on. 

These moments aren’t padded with dialogue about how Eilish is “just a normal teenager.” Rather, they are used to show moments of groundedness that contrast with the head-spinning nature of her career. Whether it’s showing her brief annoyances, tour fittings, sprained ankles, red carpets, breakups or anything in between, “The World’s A Little Blurry” shows Eilish’s world for exactly what it is: crazy and complex but punctuated by moments of normalcy. 

In particular, we see this dichotomy when Eilish meets her childhood idol Justin Bieber. She meets him after playing a packed set at Coachella, and despite having just played one of the most important shows of her life, she clings to Bieber like she’s 10 years old again, melting into a puddle of fangirl tears. This moment shows the realities of her past and current self colliding at full force.

Throughout the movie, we see Bieber transition from an idol to a mentor. He congratulates Eilish on her successes but also warns her of the grueling nature of the music industry and the struggles that accompany fame.

At times, these struggles are as simple as having self-doubt. It’s clear from the movie that Eilish is her own biggest critic, for better or worse. She often laments over the fact that she doesn’t feel her voice is good enough or worries that she’s not putting on the best possible show from her audience. She pours herself into every aspect of the creative process, understanding that whether it’s a video, outfit, tour graphic or song, it’s a representation of who she is. She’s willing to have black liquid drip down her face or a tarantula crawl out of her mouth all in service of her creative vision. This dedication has, in turn, allowed her to build a cohesive world around her persona.

Often, though, her struggles go much deeper than everyday worries. The film doesn’t shy away from Eilish’s experiences with depression and self-harm, noting that many of her past struggles have brought her to where she is today. Nowhere is this sentiment more evident than when we watch Eilish pen the track “listen before i go,” a slow ballad that tackles the concept of suicide. When her mom hears the track, she’s stunned. When both her mom and her brother express concern about including such a graphic subject on the album, Eilish replies that the song is her catharsis — a way of processing her past struggles with depression: “It’s something I want to have said.” For Eilish, producing art is a need. It fills something in her that nothing else can. And that’s a beautiful and humbling thing to watch happen. 

Ultimately, through its honest portrayal of her life and creative process, “The World’s A Little Blurry” solidifies what we already knew: that Billie Eilish is one of the most compelling, hard-working and talented figures in pop culture today.



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