February 26th, 2021
MOVIE: BILLIE EILISH: THE WORLD’S A LITTLE BLURRY
STARRING: BILLIE EILISH, FINNEAS O’CONNELL, MAGGIE BAIRD, PATRICK O’CONNELL
DIRECTED BY: R.J. CUTLER
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
What I loved about R. J. Cutler’s documentary- Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry is that I was watching sooner than later. Unlike the Amy Winehouse documentary or the recent eye opening revelations about Britney Spears, it’s better to wake up my music tastes to a true artist now, rather than later, especially when the harsh pressure of celebrity can wear someone down. Something tells me this one is going to be different. We are witnessing a person of great talent and this is a documentary that appreciates the person, her rise to stardom, and the family that supports her in every step she takes. Billie Eilish is only 19-years old, has five Grammy Awards, has a voice as smooth as butter, and a fan base that goes wild for her. That’s a lot to handle this fast, all of it captured in Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, taking us along for a wild ride for an incredible artist.
There’s a wild connection for me with Billie Eilish and her family. Way back in 2013, when I was covering the Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival, Billie’s mother, Maggie Baird had her film Life Inside Out, which co-stars her son and songwriter Finneas O’Connell, telling a unique story about family and music. This allowed me the opportunity to interview her, but little did I know that I was talking to Billie Eilish’s mother. I shouldn’t have been too surprised, because everything about this family is incredibly talented, and they do it all as a collective unit. That’s how they succeed, together as a group, with the excellent songwriting of Finneas, and the gorgeous vocals of Billie leading the way. That’s why a documentary that captures their journey is not just that of Billie’s, but about how much an artist needs a support group, people by their side to help them through the highs of celebrity, and the lows.
This is a documentary that plays like a video journal, starting with Billie’s viral internet rise with her first hit song “Ocean Eyes”, following on her first world tour, her performance as the headline for Coachella, her desperate want to please her fans, and culminating with her historic night at the 2020 Grammy Awards. What director R.J. Cutler correctly understands is the dynamic of this family and captures an incredible amount of intimate moments. A beautiful sequence where Billie has finally received her driver’s license, taking her new car out to the music studio, and her father Patrick is there to remind her about the rules of the road. It’s followed by Patrick speaking to the camera about the fears of being a parent. He just happens to be the father of the biggest music artist out there today. The fear is still there, to all her fans she’s a talent unlike any other, but to her dad she’s his Billie. Throughout watching The World’s a Little Blurry there’s a sense that this person is going to be okay, that’s if she doesn’t put the pressure on herself. Like any great artist, Eilish is a perfectionist, a performer that hates to disappoint, and her humanity coats every inch of this documentary.
If there is any major critique on The World’s a Little Blurry it’s that the length is a bit much at two hours and twenty-one minutes. However, you could give Cutler the benefit of the doubt because all this footage tells a great story. A documentary like this works well when we see the behind the scenes moments. When Billie feels disappointed in her performance at Coachella, it’s a downer. When Billie becomes frustrated by the constant need to take pictures with fans, people she doesn’t know, it’s an important reminder that she’s just a kid, or when her mother expresses that her team let her down when they put her in uncomfortable positions she doesn’t want to be in. All of it is humbling because this is still just a kid, someone who has so much more ahead of her.
On the whole, The World’s a Little Blurry is an excellent documentary, capturing the meteoric rise of Billie Eilish and hopefully it is only just the beginning. Her talent has no bounds, with her loving family, her best friend and brother by her side making true music, with her vocal sound ready for a path similar to that of Lady Gaga, crooning the songs of other greats such as Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holiday. It’s better to live in the moment and cherish the great work she’s doing now. Who knows where her career will take her. Seeing into the future is all just a Little Blurry. I’m going to listen to Billie Eilish right now.
BILLIE EILISH: THE WORLD’S A LITTLE BLURRY WILL PREMIERE IN SELECT CHICAGO THEATERS AND GLOBALLY ON APPLE TV+ ON FEBRUARY 26TH, 2021.
3 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady