I confess I’m not a Billie Eilish fan. It’s not my kind of music and, let’s be blunt, I’m at least 15 years too old. However, I was intrigued to watch the The World’s a Little Blurry documentary on Apple TV+ to get an insight into one of the globe’s biggest stars.
Fans Will Love ‘Billie Eilish – The World’s a Little Blurry’ on Apple TV+
I’m sure if you’re one of the millions of Billie Eilish fans around the world you will lap up every second of this R.J. Cutler-made documentary. It’s intimate, honest, and, in parts, compelling. However, for those of us who don’t already gush over her every Instagram post and have her music on repeat, this is not a good entry point to Billie Eilish-land. There are almost no explanations of who the various people hanging around the singer are, and little context provided for the uninitiated on much else.
One thing I do rather admire about this Apple TV+ original is the fact it does not try to make Billie Eilish some kind of perfect, serene figure. Indeed, at some moments she comes over as distinctly spoilt. There’s one scene in which a manager is providing some advice to the tired and grumpy star while her mother massages her neck which is underneath a stack of very heavy, expensive-looking chains, and gets no thanks. At various other points, she complains that she hates songwriting as her brother, Finneas O’Connell tries to guide her through the recording and writing process.
There are other moments though when you’re reminded just how young Billie Eilish is (she turns 18 during the course of the movie,) and that actually what is being asked of a mere teenager is ridiculous. We see her perfectly normal struggles with a boyfriend, fangirling of Justin Bieber, and desire to pass a driving test (followed by a typical Dad safety lecture when she does). At the same time, she is giving everything when performing for thousands of people and the assorted nonsense that comes with. As the singer insightfully comments after being dragged through a cringe-inducing meet and greet session on tour:
I can’t have one moment.
On that, you can’t help but have sympathy. The ability of someone that young to constantly put on a smile and perform in whatever context is staggering.
Finneas The Super Producer
Although he doesn’t obviously dominate the documentary, arguably the real star is brother Finneas O’Connell. He’s the producer and songwriter behind the biggest Billie Eilish hits. Four years older, he’s a constantly reassuring and humorous presence for his sister, including on stage. He’s the one that gets work recorded on time – including the upcoming Bond theme tune. (This happens while she complains that “I’m gonna get made fun of by the Internet when I do it.”) His undoubted talent is acknowledged by family members throughout.
Billie Eilish Goes Global
At two hours and 20 minutes, Billie Eilish – The World’s a Little Blurry feels a bit too long and self-indulgent. Lots of elements, such a tour bus and plane shots, as well as live performances, reoccur. Although I’m sure fans will lap up every second, most of the points made in the film could have been made more succinctly. It does though all culminate in a staggeringly successful night at the Grammy awards for the siblings that leaves viewers in no doubt the scale of their achievement – from recording an album in a bedroom to truly global superstardom in months.
It’s clear why Apple TV+ would want a Billie Eilish movie, and why fans would want to watch it. And it’s not like this is a bad documentary. At all. It’s just probably not one for anyone who doesn’t have Bad Guy playing on repeat.