Billie Eilish, the ultramodern pop star who’s each colorfully gothic and establishment-friendly, is a fascinating topic: vividly inventive, offhandedly weak, barely visibly self-conscious. And additionally, a teenager. “Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry,” the brand new documentary about her rise, finds her shaping international aesthetics whereas cocooned in a close-knit household, and treats each circumstances with equal casualness. In this movie, all of Eilish’s interactions are human-scale, or smaller.
“Blurry” — directed, with decided informality, by R.J. Cutler (“The War Room,” “The September Issue”) — doesn’t inform a story about Eilish a lot as sit again and presume that one will unfold. Which, after all, it does. Her 2019 debut album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?,” is the product of numerous house bed room recording periods together with her brother, Finneas, who produces all of her music. That album goes on to earn her 5 Grammys. Cameras had been there all through.
And but “Blurry” isn’t triumphant, strictly talking. Instead, it depends on the accretive energy of the mundane. It strikes ahead with out narration, and typically with out narrative rhythm — typically it feels nearly observational, like a nature movie. The abundance of footage, and the area it’s given to breathe — the film is sort of two and a half hours lengthy — captures the stressed loneliness of superstardom.
Eilish’s method to that fame is each sport and shrugging. Her songwriting is visceral and typically darkish: she reveals the journal by which she attracts ghoulish scenes and writes poems which will grow to be lyrics, together with, in all caps, “I WANA END ME.” Even when the movie reveals followers clamoring for Eilish, it stays resolute in centering her. In footage drawn from numerous live shows world wide, the sound focuses tightly on her vocals, turning even enviornment reveals into websites of outrageous intimacy.
At occasions, “Blurry” suggests larger friction occurring simply out of sight, gently spotlighting the tug of warfare between Eilish and the expectations positioned upon her. Closing in on finishing the album, Finneas grumbles, “I feel like I’ve been, like, told to write a hit, but I’ve been told to not tell Billie that we have to write a hit.” Later, when Eilish and Finneas are recording her track for the James Bond movie “No Time to Die,” she mopes over the theatrical belting it requires: “I’m gonna get made fun of by the internet when I do it.”
Toward the tip of the movie, as she’s touring her album world wide, fissures seem. Her ankle lastly offers out at a present in Milan, and in New York, she bristles on the after-show circus of picture ops with hangers-on, and then once more when somebody posts on-line that she had been impolite. At Coachella, a frisky, eyes-bugged Orlando Bloom (paramour of Katy Perry) presents hugs backstage, and Eilish additionally awkwardly meets Justin Bieber, her childhood idol. Bieber is a recurring character right here, as an summary deity, then a beneficiant collaborator, and additionally as a symbolic foil, a reminder of what occurs when teen stardom goes awry.
Eilish seems unlikely to unravel earlier than the cameras. Stars are being filmed continuously now anyhow — the hole between social media movies and precise movie is shrinking with every passing iPhone digicam enchancment. That advertorial content material has prolonged into the area of documentary movie isn’t novel anymore.
So on the one hand, it’s noteworthy that a rising star like Eilish granted heavy entry to a filmmaker lengthy earlier than her debut album was even accomplished. That is a fragile time, with no assure of success, to allow to be captured for posterity.
And but even when Eilish is besieged or bedraggled, there’s by no means something aside from a sense of security on this footage. The boilerplate language that seems on the finish of the movie’s credit reminds why: “Interscope Records is the author of this cinematographic or audiovisual work.”
Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry
Rated R. Running time: Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes. In theaters and on Apple TV+. Please consult the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching movies inside theaters.