Even With Few Tunes, Jimi Hendrix Biopic Works
Critics praise Andre 3000 of Outkast in 'Jimi: All Is By My Side'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2014 10:27 AM CDT

(Newser) – Writer and director John Ridley takes audiences back to 1966 and '67, before Jimi Hendrix was a rock god, in Jimi: All Is by My Side. The new flick starring Outkast's Andre 3000, also known as Andre Benjamin, has been called "fascinating," yet also downright weird. Here's what critics are saying:

  • Simply put, Andre 3000 "gets it right," writes Steven Rea at the Philadelphia Inquirer. He "captures Hendrix's nodding swagger, his effortless cool, and most important, his voice—going beyond mimicry into some other, spookier realm." Together, the cast and Ridley "make you appreciate" Hendrix's "impossibly short, impossibly brilliant" life.
  • Mick LaSalle at the San Francisco Chronicle, however, was less thrilled. "Think of a famous Hendrix song. For that matter, think of an obscure Hendrix song. Whatever you're thinking of, it's not in the movie," he writes. "That's a little like making a film about Henry Ford without ever showing a car."
  • The lack of music is "largely the result of the tangled condition of the Hendrix musical estate," writes Andrew O'Hehir at Salon. "But the damn thing is, Ridley very nearly makes this insuperable obstacle work to his benefit." The film is a "fascinating" and "deeply peculiar portrait of one of the 20th century's most enigmatic musical talents" that "resembles no other pop-music biopic you've ever seen."
  • Kenneth Turan at the Los Angeles Times agrees the absence of Hendrix's best-known tunes "doesn't hurt this moody, mesmerizing film one bit" thanks to Andre 3000's "extraordinary performance." He "is able to almost instinctively create a sense of what it must have felt like to be Hendrix." And Ridley shows, like Hendrix, that he can think outside the box.