The best coming-of-age movie of 2021 revolves around an introspective California teen who just happens to be a multi-platinum-selling, Grammy-winning international superstar. As if Billie Eilish weren’t already a prominent voice of her generation.
The documentary is Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry, streaming on Apple TV+ on Friday, February 26, and as you may have surmised, it’s an intimate fly-on-the-wall glimpse of the singer attempting to navigate the most extraordinary 12 months of her life. The journey starts with Eilish, 19, in her bedroom with her older brother, Finneas O’Connell, scribbling lyrics in her notebook that would eventually filter into her debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? It ends with her collecting five trophies at the 2020 Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. She was 18.
In between, Eilish breaks Spotify records, tours the world, meets awestruck A-list fans and records the theme song for the new James Bond movie. She has enough poise to tell screaming iPhone-clad fans during her Coachella set in 2019, “In life, we tend to do things and then we’re always looking forward to the next thing everything is about what’s happening right now … And this is happening right now. So why don’t we be in the moment, yeah?” Almost 20 tracks are featured in all, with many heard in their entirety during performance clips.
This documentary is at its most engaging when Eilish is Just Like Us. It’s easy to relate when she makes up silly handshakes with Finneas and practically skips across the front lawn upon getting her driver’s license. Like any angsty 18-year-old, she’s also prone to mood swings, eye-rolling and spats with her parents.
The differentiating factor here is that she argues with them about her attitude during a backstage meet-and-greet with record label VIPs. (Thankfully, director R.J. Cutler never cuts from the drama to some music expert sitting in a chair expounding on Eilish’s genius.) These raw moments help justify the film’s extremely generous 140-minute running time.