Cutler’s “Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry” only briefly spends time watching old movies at the singer’s childhood home. The early home-schooled siblings grew up with instruments in the house, and with music lessons from dad and songwriting tips from mom, began to create their own tracks. Eilish’s adorable and free-spirited parents, Maggie Baird and Patrick O’Connell, watch her in times of pride and comfort her in the more difficult times. They talk about their daughter, her generation, and how quickly the kids grow up as sort of a running commentary throughout the film. At 13, Eilish released her first single on SoundCloud, where she reunited with her first hundreds of listeners. Now his Spotify page lists hundreds of millions of streams. Between tour dates and the daily stages of adolescence like getting a driver’s license, Eilish and her brother craft songs for her debut album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” Cutler’s film takes fans back to the beginnings of some of his now-established hits, like a behind-the-scenes look at the O’Connells’ collaborative process. But these aren’t the only intimate moments in the film. The film also documents Eilish’s heartfelt thoughts on mental health and her fans, a dynamic that she cares deeply about but recognizes her demands on her. There is an anxiety boiling in different parts of the documentary about how people are going to react to her job or how she behaves. The documentary also captures a fading relationship and how that affects her both behind the scenes and on stage. He records her fangirl reaction to meeting personal heroes like Justin Bieber, someone she loved so deeply as a child, her mom mentions that they almost took her to therapy because of her crush.
The documentary follows his successes with some of the harshest realities of work. Dragged out of the dance world due to injury, it’s a painful specter that continues to haunt Eilish both physically and emotionally. The injury is a situation serious enough to challenge his desire to play to the fullest for his fans. It is one of the most dramatic moments in the documentary. The film itself takes a fly-on-the-wall approach to its subject, observing it from afar even in the same room. Already at this age, Eilish is introspective on a number of issues in her life and doesn’t seem to need a lot of conviction to open up about herself. She’s frustrated with criticism and technical issues, anxious to perform in front of large crowds, ready to share old doodles and self-harm writing from old notebooks. Subtly, his clothes, hair and nails change before the release of his first album. It is a transformation without drawing attention to it, the daily evolution of a young person who becomes his own.
While the documentary is rich in detail and stellar access, it’s overloaded with too many side scenes and candid shots. I’m sure fans would like to see a longer cut of the movie, but the movie itself can sometimes feel like it winds around, squeezing in a random tour shot here, another scene of Eilish blundering there. . The basic drama and story is there, but a few scenes don’t add to the narrative, just expand it.
Finally, the documentary picks up as the 2020 Grammys draw near where Eilish would take home the gold medal for Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year and best vocal pop album, in addition to writing and recording a song for the yet to be released James Bond film “No Time To Die”. That’s the perfect grade to finish, an abbreviated memory from the Before Times before the pandemic. This is also the point in her career where Eilish remains: with all the promise of a brilliant and brilliant career still ahead of her.
Now available on Apple TV +.