The highly anticipated Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry documentary premieres on AppleTV+ on February 26th, and parents want to know if it’s going to be safe for their teens to watch. I’ve created a guide with details you can expect to see in the film to make a decision.
Fans get a first-hand, behind-the-scenes look at the rise to fame of Billie Eilish in the new AppleTV+ documentary. Take one listen to Eilish’s music, and you’ll know that some of the haunting lyrics can come from dark places. This means that there are some heavy topics throughout the film. I’ll share the things that stood out to me and then give you my honest review of the film.
It’s important to note that the film is rated R. While this is a true coming of age story of a popular singer-songwriter, parents should be mindful of the content they can expect to see.
Parents Guide to Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry
Language – This one is probably at the top of every rated R list, so I’m not going to go into too much detail here. Any movie that uses the word F*uck more than once gets an R rating. Billie likes to cuss, so that is the simplest answer to why the Billie Eilish documentary is rated R. If you’re debating whether to let a teen watch the movie, you’ll want to know about the other items on this list.
Dealing with Tourette’s Syndrome – Billie Eilish has a form of Tourette’s that causes motor tics in her head. While she doesn’t go into great detail about the tics, there are a few places we see her having episodes (tic attacks) that affect her ability to continue what she was doing. One thing I am glad they touch on with her tics is that they can be worse because of stress. This is a good conversation started for teens and how offering support is better than making fun of something out of a person’s control.
Genitalia – Eilish keeps a journal with her to doodle, write lyrics, and thoughts into whenever she can. The notebook plays a role in the album she and her brother Finneas are working on (When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?). In the notebook, she highlights some of the doodles of male and female genitalia she drew in the margins of the page. She points out that there are dick’s and vagina’s on the page alongside a self-portrait.
Depression and Suicidal Thoughts (Listen Before I Go) – This song is one that has always been hailed as the darkest for Eilish. While writing the song her mother asks her if she is “seriously implying that you [Billie Eilish] would jump off a roof.” She goes on to ask her if she feels all right about a song like that and if she worries about how listeners would take that.
“I feel like it’s something I want to have said. This song is the reason I don’t,” Eilish says. “Having this way of saying it instead of doing it is better.”
There is a highlight to the depression and sadness that teens feel. As a parent that was uncomfortable with this song, hearing Eilish discuss it from a therapeutic angle allows me to do the same for teens that relate to the pain they sometimes feel.
In an interview with Grammy Museum, Eilish talks about her decision to talk about mental health in her songs.
“Now that I think about it, I realize how many people aren’t talking about this kind of stuff and why people are so shocked when you do talk about it,” Eilish says. “Why is that so shocking? I’m telling you how I am as a human. Why is that weird? To be honest with you, I didn’t think I would make it to this age.”
It opens the door to more conversations about how we feel, the emotions we are going through, and how it’s ok to talk about them. She shows pages from her “peak” of sadness when she was around 14 or 15 years old and discusses having razor blades and cutting. On her bedroom wall, she’s written some of the same messages about her dark feelings.
Feelings about Drugs and Cigarettes – The topic comes up in a video where Eilish discusses her feelings about drugs and smoking and how the interview may come back up later in her life if she ever uses them. Eilish’s mother, Maggie Baird, pulls out the mama bear and shuts down the conversation that Eilish should be authentic to who she is now, no matter what. It also takes a look at how fame can affect people, and they could grow up and make mistakes, but planning that when your young is unrealistic and harms the person you are in that moment. I was secretly cheerleading Baird in this scene.
“People are always like, ‘it’s so dark, have happy music.’ I’m like, I’m never feeling happy so why would I write about things I don’t know about,” Eilish says. “I feel the dark things, I feel them very strongly, and why would I not talk about them?”
Drunk Driving – While talking on the phone with her boyfriend at the time Q, she discovers that he drove home drunk one night.
Dealing with Strangers – While Billie clearly loves her fans, she always has to deal with people wanting to touch her for photos. While I know that a lot of stars go through this, there is one moment in the film when “important people” want to meet and take pictures with her. She has a bad night and was uncomfortable. She has two grown men put their hands around her, and it looks like her skin is crawling. Mine was crawling just watching this play out. She is expected to put on a brave face and deal with it to protect her blossoming image. It’s unfair to expect a teen to “ok” all the time, especially when it comes to people encroaching on your personal space.
Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry Movie Review
With everything listed above, we watched Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry together as a family (even my 8-year-old). While the genitalia part made me go ‘oops,’ I think there is a lot to focus on in the film that needs more conversation, especially with teens. While they may not be surrounded by millions of fans and an extremely supportive family, teens can relate to a lot of what we see on screen.
The world we live in isn’t rainbows and unicorns. It’s dark, and our teens are at a point in their lives where emotions and hormones are high. Feelings are heightened to the extreme. Billie Eilish takes you on this journey, her coming of age during a time in her life when she goes on tour, creates an album that earns her and her brother six Grammy Awards.
Through home videos, we see Eilish when she is younger and a talented modern dancer. After she suffers an injury, she realizes that her dream of dancing is over. Where one dream failed, another took its place. That drive is something to look up to. Allowing fans to see the struggles she deals with will help them connect to her on a deeper level.
It was refreshing seeing a family that loves and supports each other and is fiercely protecting Billie Eilish as she moves into adulthood.
“Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry,” tells the true coming-of-age story of the singer-songwriter and her rise to global superstardom. From award-winning filmmaker R.J. Cutler, the documentary offers a deeply intimate look at this extraordinary teenager’s journey, at just 17 years old, navigating life on the road, on stage, and at home with her family, while writing, recording, and releasing her debut album “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?”
The film will be released in theaters by NEON and premiere globally on Apple TV+ February 26, 2021.