Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry
By Jennifer Green,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Language, talk of risky behavior in intimate teen star docu.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
It's important to be up front about your feelings rather than hiding them away or pretending everything is fine when it's not. People struggling with mental or physical health issues look for creative outlets and supportive people for help. Parents must have faith in their kids and do their best, supporting and loving them unconditionally, but then let them fly when the time comes. Romantic partners should be present and supportive.
Positive Role Models
Billie treats her fans with affection and exhausts herself physically and emotionally as she creates music, puts on enjoyable concerts, and fulfills her contractual obligations as an artist. Her brother and parents are always there for her with emotional support, physical care, and to intervene on her behalf when necessary, such as when she's put under unnecessary pressure or when she's treated as more than the teenager she is. Her parents also seem to have trouble letting her go as she turns 18. Billie admits she has trouble feeling happy and has engaged in self destructive behavior. She talks openly about her feelings and also her Tourette Syndrome, which manifests in physical tics. Billie has a clear creative vision and opts to direct her own music videos and make her own concert fashion choices.
Violence & Scariness
Billie admits she used to cut herself with razors at age 14. She suffered a hip injury around the same time that derailed her passion for dancing. She gets terrible shin splints and neck aches on tour and tears ligaments in a fall on stage in Italy, all of which is apparently painfully treated with ice packs and physical therapy. She tells a story of once biting down on a glass due to her Tourette Syndrome. She jokes she could never say no to Justin Bieber, even if he told her to kill her dog. Her mom questions the message she's sending with a lyric about jumping off the roof. Her boyfriend winds up in the emergency room because he got angry and hit a wall with his hand.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Billie points to hand-drawn pictures in her journal of penises and a "hairy vagina." She has a boyfriend she's not fully happy with and ends up breaking up with him. Her brother takes a video call with her topless, apparently having just showered. Some of Billie's songs deal with relationships.
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Multiple uses of "f--k" and "s--t." "D--k," "bitch," "hell," "Jesus Christ," "Satan." Billie, her brother, and her parents all curse.
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Products & Purchases
The film could inspire interest in Eilish's music and perhaps some of her style as well. Her record label is Interscope. Justin Bieber makes an appearance as a role model and inspiration to Eilish. Everyone has a smart phone; Billie's is Apple. Spotify and Instagram are mentioned by name, YouTube Music is on Billie billboards. She wears a Star Trek shirt, Eazy-E, Calvin Klein, YVL, and more. She drives a Dodge and her brother has a Tesla.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Eilish and her brother say they wrote the song "Xanny" about people close to them who they see hurting themselves with drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol. Eilish admonishes her boyfriend when he admits he's hungover and apparently drove himself home drunk the night before. Eilish is given oxygen after a performance.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry focuses on the mega-popular teen pop star, who still lives at home with her doting parents (and older brother/musical collaborator) and shuns all drugs and alcohol. Her parents demonstrate tireless love and are almost always present; Eilish says they've supported her at every stage. But the star also admits that she struggles to feel happy and that she's engaged in self-destructive behavior in the past, including cutting. One of her songs talks about jumping off a roof; another, called "Xanny," deals with people drinking, smoking, and getting stoned. Eilish is up front about her Tourette Syndrome, which manifests in physical tics and once led her to bite down on a glass. She gets hurt on tour, suffering debilitating shin splints and tearing ligaments around an ankle. Her boyfriend is dismissive and absent, but it still hurts when they break up. Some of her songs deal with relationships, and Eilish admonishes her boyfriend when he admits he's hungover and apparently drove himself home drunk the night before. Her mom says teens are rightly depressed considering the state of the world, though she also expresses concern about the message that some of her daughter's lyrics could be sending. She intervenes with handlers when Eilish is under too much pressure or treated as more than a teen. Eilish points to hand-drawn pictures in her journal of penises and a "hairy vagina." Language includes multiple uses of "f--k" and "s--t," "d--k," "bitch," "hell," "Jesus Christ," and "Satan."
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Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry
Based on 11 parent reviews
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I'm 20 and a Billie STAN TO THE MAX and had to watch it
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What's the Story?
BILLIE EILISH: THE WORLD'S A LITTLE BLURRY follows the young, emerging star during her whirlwind year as a 17-year-old that includes the launch of her chart-topping first album, a world tour, and an astonishing sweep of the 2020 Grammy Awards. In the film, the teenager still lives at home with her parents, who we see doing everyday things like picking up after pets in the yard or doing laundry, and she makes music in her bedroom with her brother. The landmark year captures her launch to fame, and we see her grappling with its trappings: exhaustion on the road, needy fans, fawning hangers-on, inquiring reporters, demanding label executives, tiresome meet-and-greets, public expectations, the drive to be fashionable and cool, online critiques, long-distance relationships, and the need to create even when she's not feeling inspired or isn't enjoying the process. The film combines home videos and filmed footage, showing Billie extensively at home with her family and on tour in the US, Europe, and Australia.
Is It Any Good?
It's rare for a documentary to offer a truly intimate look inside a celebrity's emotional state as well as her home life, but this film appears to do both. In Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry, the artist allows herself to be very vulnerable, something fans and anyone interested in the lives of teenagers today will find both admirable and intriguing. It's downright brave to be so open in an age of online judging and shaming, something the singer is acutely mindful of. She talks about "internet" reactions to her life and work, and her brother admits that her awareness of her own online persona scares her into inaction sometimes. This openness is perhaps consistent with her digital generation as a whole, but it's also specifically a part of her profile as an artist. She tells interviewers in the film that she sings about what she's feeling, and that she doesn't understand why anyone should hide or cover up feelings, even when they're dark or scary. That may be the most unique aspect of Billie as an artist and this film, and why both will connect with teens the world over, as well as curious parents. In an age of constant posturing, Billie at home still feels real. This also makes it interesting in the film to see her physicality and even diction shift when she's out in the world and on stage.
The star, who is just 17 the year the film is made, opens up on camera about her physical and emotional struggles. We see her enduring pain in the film, and she rarely seems entirely happy or confident, despite her wild successes and even milestones like meeting her tween crush Justin Bieber. The camera scans her bedroom walls and journals, filled with dark images and gloomy, seemingly depressed statements that make their way into her lyrics. This may all explain why her parents are such a constant presence. Family life revolves around Billie. They tearfully admit the essential role of a parent in keeping a teen star on a healthy path (Bieber's past troubles are given as a problematic example). They're also clearly not ready to let her go, which we see in another teary scene the day Billie gets her license and drives off across Los Angeles on her own. Her mom says she understands why teenagers today are depressed, considering all that their world is dealing with, from economic recession to an opioid epidemic to climate crisis, political upheaval and rampant racism (and this was all before the pandemic). At a long 140 minutes (with intermission), the film leaves viewers with a jumble of feelings not unlike a Billie Eilish song -- attracted and entertained, but also uneasy and maybe even a little worried.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the messages the singer communicates with her music, as discussed and performed in Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry. Eilish says she didn't intend to make a statement when she first started expressing her feelings in music. Do her songs make a statement? What is her message, in your opinion?
Billie's brother Finneas is her producer and singing-songwriting partner. Does he seem comfortable playing a supporting role in her career, though he's clearly talented too? He's the only family member to mention the wealth that accompanies his sister's fame. Were you surprised this wasn't more of a topic in the film?
Billie says her family made her who she is. How so? Where do you see examples of that in the movie?
The film combines home videos with filmed footage. Does it make you feel like you're getting to know the real Billie Eilish? Why or why not?
Billie talks about cutting herself with razors, feeling unhappy, and worrying about friends consuming drugs or alcohol. Where can a teenager grappling with issues like these go for support?
- On DVD or streaming: February 26, 2021
- Cast: Billie Eilish, Finneas O'Connell
- Director: R.J. Cutler
- Studio: Apple TV+
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Arts and Dance, Brothers and Sisters, Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 140 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: Language throughout and brief nude sketches.
- Last updated: February 17, 2023
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