“The world’s a little blurry. Or maybe it’s my eyes.” This line from Billie Eilish’s record-breaking debut album When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? turns into the apt title of director R.J. Cutler’s well-rounded documentary, looking at how the Gen-Z pop sensation rose to superstardom. With a risky runtime of 140 minutes, the film never feels overlong, as it strikes a skilled balance between a fulfilling fan service and a verité epitome of the contemporary music industry as experienced by its prodigy in the spotlight.

In this film, we indeed see the world through Eilish’s eyes. Cutler foregrounds the intimate footage that uncovers her one-of-a-kind creative processes of home recordings with her brother and producer Finneas, and heated family meetings with their homeschooling parents about her career and marketing decisions. In turn, this footage brings out the film’s recurrent inquiries into the disorienting effects of overnight fame on Eilish’s self-image in the digital age of streaming moguls and social media celebrity.

The film proceeds to pick up its pace of editing in accordance with Eilish’s real-time ascension to the rank of global pop icon – switching back and forth between a series of adrenaline-infused, core-shaken live performances, and the fly-on-the-wall revelations of her sombre downtime to recover from injuries and heartbreaks. Here, Cutler shrewdly times her seemingly fleeting moments of angst and insecurities into the hazy layout of her all-consuming tour life.

During these moments, it dawns upon us that Eilish is still a wide-eyed teenager prematurely bombarded by public attention and scrutinisation. Though what keeps her grounded – and what echoes this film’s zeitgeist – is her innately immediate connection with her fans and peers. Together, they find solace in each other while stumbling along the path to adulthood in this increasingly unpredictable world.



CAST: Billie Eilish, Finneas O’Connell, Maggie Baird, Patrick O’Connell


WRITER: R.J. Cutler

SYNOPSIS: Gen-Z pop star Billie Eilish’s journey to global fame, and her offstage life with her family and loved ones.