Jimi: All Is By My Side Review

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London, 1966. With the help of Linda Keith (Poots), Keith Richards' girlfriend, guitar genius Jim Hendrix (Benjamin) decamps to the Big Smoke to push the boundaries of his talent. Women, drugs and a Stratocaster await him on that journey.


Groovy costumes and a strong performance from André Benjamin do not a memorable biopic of rock’s most electrifying guitarist make. We’ve waited years for a Jimi Hendrix film, and writer-director John Ridley’s labour of love — covering the year 1966-’67, in which Hendrix approached stardom — still doesn’t cut it. The Hendrix Estate’s refusal to let them use his music is a huge problem, not solved by soap operatics, clumsy editing and arty/odd sound. Imogen Poots as self-appointed muse, Hayley Atwell as girlfriend/keeper of the flame, ludicrous cameos (Burn Gorman is like a Python character) and a slew of ‘looknotalikes’ don’t help.

Muddling by with none of Hendrix's music to fall back on was always going to be a tricky task for the filmmakers. Sure enough, the result disappoints, despite its leads' best efforts.