Arts / Opinion

The World’s A Little Blurry shares the impact one girl made on a generation’s mental health

In 2016, a 13-year-old recorded her debut single “Ocean Eyes” and unexpectedly gained attention from thousands when it went viral. The world was blessed with Billie Eilish, a now 19-year-old teenage sensation who rose to global fame after releasing her freshman album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? in 2019. 

R.J. Cutler’s Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry, a newly released Apple TV documentary, is compiled of raw and revealing footage from Billie’s life. It invites viewers in to witness the most personal parts of her life, including her emotionally abusive past relationship and her struggles with depression and self-harm. But we also see some of the most special moments of her life, like when she met her childhood idol, Justin Bieber, for the first time. This film has made an impact on Gen Z, because seeing someone in the spotlight opening up about their mental health issues is so comforting to teenagers today. 

I was starstruck by Billie’s talent when I discovered her in early 2018, but watching her documentary made me realize how much we don’t know about a person based on what we see on the outside

The documentary opens with a scene of Billie at 13 years old, recording “Ocean Eyes” before her fame, and it ends with the 2020 Grammys.

Still considered a “small artist” at the time, Billie started to make more music, and she expressed that her family was told by someone in the industry that she would eventually go places in her career. On the documentary’s premiere night, Billie had an Apple TV Youtube interview with Zane Lowe, where she explained how her mother, Maggie Baird, recorded her life on her phone.  Maggie therefore began to film her daughter with the expectation that the footage would eventually be turned into a documentary about Billie’s life. Director Cutler told Sky News, “We live in a moment where everyone’s life is on camera… And [Eilish’s mother] captured history in the making.” 

Billie went through major ups and downs throughout her personal life, and we get to see her growth both physically and mentally, from being at her lowest point, to rising back up and reclaiming her happiness again in 2020. I may be biased because I have been a committed fan of hers for years, but her mental health transformation was very clear and the documentary did a phenomenal job of shining that through. Even my dad, who knew nothing about her besides a few of the lyrics to “Bad Guy,” observed that “She became so much happier towards the end.” 

Mental health is a topic that’s getting more commonly talked about every day, especially in regards to teenagers. The documentary emphasizes mental health because it’s been such a prominent part of her life, and after watching this film, I believe that Billie being born in Gen Z has made an immense impact on the generation. It’s comforting to see another teenager facing issues that much of our generation is struggling with, despite all of her fame and success. It makes you realize that even someone who seems to be doing so well in life is actually going through the same issues as everyone else. I always knew Billie dealt with mental health issues, but seeing everything play out with my own eyes was so different than simply hearing her say “I’ve struggled with depression.”

If you don’t know a ton about this young artist, the documentary is a great way to get introduced to her. It lets you in on the style of her music and shows footage of her singing unreleased songs, which, to the fans, is a huge deal. We also get some insight into her mind, witnessing her creative process in writing lyrics, as well as filming her famous music videos that have gained billions of views online. And the best part, we get to see her real personality as a teenage girl living in Los Angeles. 

Billie is someone who I have always wanted the best for. This being said, it was hard to sit down and see her crawl into such a deep hole of darkness right in front of my eyes. The documentary left me feeling overwhelmed and emotional, but I was also honored that I had the privilege of witnessing the most private and significant parts of her life. I am so grateful for this documentary and the impact it has made, not only on me, but our entire generation. It was something I needed in my life and didn’t even know.

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