By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
For Billie Eilish, the title of this documentary/concert film is most definitely an appropriate title, given her meteroric rise to fame. As RJ Cutler’s film reveals, the still teenage Billie has been living in a very blur of fame, fortune, and critical acclaim. This experience is particularly difficult for someone who suffers from depression, and Tourette Syndrome. Though a talented singer, songwriter, and performer, the aftermath of success can be tremendously overwhelming and difficult to handle. Cutler’s film beautifully showcases why Eilish has achieved fame and success, but also gives an intimate glimpse into the impact it has on the artist herself.
Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell was raised in an American family where music has played a huge role in her life. Mostly collaborating with older brother Finneas, Eilish first got the world’s attention when her song “Ocean Eyes” received over a hundred thousand listens when her brother released it via SoundCloud. This attention would further propel the career of the young singer and would gain her a record deal that would forever change her life. Cutler’s film follows Eilish, her brother Finneas, and their family, as they all continue to work on advancing Billie’s career and attempt to maintain her mental health in the process.
The film reveals the creative process that Billie and Finneas go through to create and record her songs. The movie also shows the psychological and physical toll that stardom has taken on the artist. It is a documentary that showcases and celebrates Billie’s passion and charisma and the impact it has on her fans. However, the price of fame also can have a negative impact on someone who has some personal struggles of her own.
Now, before I go any further, I have to say that when it comes to modern music, I have become what is known as an old “fuddy duddy.” In my life, I have reached a point where I rarely follow modern musical artists and mostly seek comfort in music that I know and love. That said, I found myself rather intrigued and sometimes moved by Eilish and what she expresses through her songs. I also came to appreciate the talent of her brother Finneas and the work he puts into the songwriting, musicianship and the production process.
These aspects make The World’s A Little Blurry an intriguing and watchable piece. One doesn’t necessarily have to be a fan or all that familiar with Eilish and her music to get into what this documentary has to offer. At the same time, though I enjoyed her music and marvelled at her stage presence and charisma, the film also serves as a reminder that fame has a darker side, and one has to be concerned how this facet will ultimately impact the obviously troubled young lady.
Now, I hope that statement never gets misunderstood or misconstrued because I feel that Miss Eilish comes across a vibrant, talented, and beautifully expressive artist. But I do know that success and the road that inevitably follows has its negative effects and has previously, time and again, caused irreperable trauma to anyone suffering from various ailments. I suppose that is exactly what director Cutler hopes to express through his film. As fruitful and rewarding as fame is, there is always a dark side to it all.
That said, Cutler expresses this concern as more of an underlying issue that never completely overshadows the positive aspects of Eilish’s fame. While she struggles to balance everything, she does have the support and love of her parents and her brother Finneas. All of these loved ones in her life remain determined to keep her level, balanced and away from trouble that could derail her life and career. In addition, Cutler’s film showcases what an amazing performer Eilish is. His film delivers some wonderful showcases of her talent and stage presence.
Though this documentary is certainly tailor-made and targeted toward her devoted fan base, I nevertheless found it to be a compelling portrait of a modern performer that has great talent and love towards her fans. It is a documentary and concert film I recommend mostly for Billie Eilish fans, but if one happens to be curious about her success and the reasons behind it, this film offers some definitive answers. Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry will available for viewing via AppleTV+ starting February 26, 2021.