This film, “All is by My Side” is a biographic film about the a year in the life of Jimi Hendrix. The particular year was the year in England before he became the Jimi Hendrix that was immortalized by his magnetic performances and his career exploded. As I was watching this film I felt a bit confused by the editing style that was all over the place, and very much gave it this movie an art-house film that was purposively done by the director John Ridley.
Andre Benjamin, better known as Andre 3000 from Outkast, plays the lead role of Jimi Hendrix and I don’t thin anyone else could have played him better. He in essence becomes Jimi Hendrix and Benjamin also contributes his own Southern-swagger into the performance. The supporting cast, in particular the actresses: Hayley Atwell, Imogen Poots, and Ruth Negga were all great in the film and played strong female characters. You could feel the struggle that Hendrix felt in this period of his life, he wanted to be great but, he was naturally shy, had demons following him, deep-seeded issues that manifested themselves in his music and also in more destructive ways such as violence and drug use, one of which ultimately ended his young life.
The only negatives about this movie is the editing, the beginning of the movie felt as though it was the story of how Linda Keith discovered Jimi but it then becomes apparent this is the story of how Jimi Hendrix was struggling to make it in England and then ends right before he blows up in the U.S. This approach works two-fold; it works because it allows the character to develop in a finite period of time, it is not rushed, but at the same time you are waiting for those famous performances and to hear his songs. This was not the film’s fault because it was known that the Jimi Hendrix estate did not let the producers use his music and the film greatly suffers from it. You really can’t make an honest and true movie about Jimi Hendrix without his music but the film marched on and in the end was an okay movie, it wasn’t great but a good attempt to tell this famous rocker’s story.
I recommend you watch it, its now streaming on Netflix.