• Jennifer Green

Review: "Happier than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles"

As far as concert movies go, Billie Eilish has put together a very pleasant hour with enviable accompaniment by the LA Philharmonic and others.


Despite the title, Happier than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles is more focused on the music of Eilish's new album with her brother-producer Finneas than her home city. They are staged by directors Robert Rodriguez and Patrick Osborne in an empty Hollywood Bowl arena set to moody red, blue, or gold-tinged lighting and featuring backup from the iconic LA Philharmonic and the LA Children's Chorus, as well as Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo on a bossa nova-inspired piece.

Still, the focus is pretty much solely on Eilish, and fans will surely enjoy parsing her lyrics for biographical details and references. It's also a curious juxtaposition to have an orchestra and a children's choir accompany an album filled with so much personal angst.

Between tracks, an animated version of the singer drives around LA in her silver convertible. Her movements loosely parallel the stories narrated in the album's lyrics and the musician's intros and outros to each performance.


For example, animated Billie floats up to a cloud and sprouts wings on track 6, "Goldwing." She sees billboards of herself and faces paparazzi as she walks a red carpet, echoing songs about living constantly on display and being judged.


The animations feel superfluous, but they're pretty minimal. Their most interesting use is as a sexy silhouette backlit by flashing, tunnel-like graphics on track 9 as Eilish croons about public scrutiny of her physique.


Oddly, the animated character seems employed at times to convey emotion, but this wasn't really necessary considering Eilish's self explanatory lyrics and natural allure as a performer.

 

Read the full review at Common Sense Media.