Skip to schedule and film credits
OutKast’s André Benjamin stars as Jimi Hendrix in this biopic of the rock legend.
Jimi Hendrix before he was Jimi Hendrix.
A portrait of the icon as a young man,
John Ridley's All Is By My Side features
charismatic hip-hop star Andre Benjamin
(one half of Outkast) as a sensitive, struggling
guitarist on the verge of becoming
a rock legend.
In 1966, James Hendrix — stage name
Jimmy James — is still an unknown backup
guitarist playing in New York's Cheetah
club. Hip, stylish Linda Keith (Imogen Poots)
happens to catch a set he's playing and is
mesmerized by his talent. She also happens
to be girlfriend to the Rolling Stones' Keith
Richards. Encouraging his talent, even buying
him a new guitar, Linda brings Jimmy into
her circle and, after failed attempts to get him
signed, introduces him to Chas Chandler, bassist
for The Animals and his future manager.
Listening to the strides being made by
mid-sixties British musicians, Jimmy is
convinced that London is the gateway to
success in America. But once there, he finds
himself caught between Linda's protective
grasp and the charms of a new admirer, Kathy
Etchingham (Hayley Atwell). Their chemistry,
if volatile, is immediately apparent. With
Kathy by his side, Jimi, as he is now known,
navigates London's music scene and begins
to make his mark in the world of rock 'n' roll.
Director and writer Ridley (who scripted
12 Years a Slave, also premiering at the
Festival) makes wonderful use of archival
footage that contributes to both the film's
authenticity and its emotional impact.
Contemplative conversations on the class
and racial politics of the 1960s rock world
illuminate Jimi's hippie perspective, balancing
the more intense moments that reveal
his neuroses. And, with Poots and Atwell
turning in layered performances, the story
of the women who gave direction and support
to Hendrix becomes a central part of
the film. But Ridley's master stroke was
casting Benjamin. Entirely natural in his
performance, he knows how to allow the
camera in, and can convey both the inner
struggle of this troubled genius and the electric
personality that would make him a star.
- John Ridley
- John Ridley was born in Milwaukee
and studied at New York University.
He has written the scripts for
several features including Three
Kings (99), Undercover Brother (02),
Red Tails (12), and 12 Years a Slave (13),
which screens at the Festival. His
features as writer-director are Cold
Around the Heart (97) and All Is By
My Side (13).