‘The Stones and Brian Jones’ Film Documentary Review

This new documentary offers up a balanced look at one of the original members of The Rolling Stones. It’s a fascinating ride with a sad ending.

In Nick Broomfield‘s excellent documentary, The Stones and Brian Jones, the director delves into a piece of Rolling Stones history not everyone is fully aware of. Everything you want to know about this forgotten member but were afraid to ask is explored. Ultimately, the revelations demonstrate how unstable Brian Jones became, and how a promising career skidded to a sad ending.

In this feature length work that’s receiving select screenings across North America (and all streaming services as of November 17th, 2023) we get to learn about Brian Jones through material that hasn’t been released to the public before. The new interviews really do all the tell-all as they are firsthand accounts of each individual’s time with Jones. A good bulk of it comes from his then girlfriends. For example, Zouzou has the most telling of tales. We learn about how jealous he could easily get, and as for being able to manage the band, perhaps it was best that Andrew Loog Oldham took over. Although Brian hated this move, he was never around when the group needed him.

Either he was too out of it at the time or he couldn’t handle it. Too often he wouldn’t attend recording sessions. It wasn’t long before he would even try to sabotage the band he created.

“Brian plays” by John “Hoppy” Hopkins © 1964 ESTATE OF J V L HOPKINS. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

In contrast, what fans also see is when Brian in his element. As well as being a first rate guitarist, he could also play the maracas, and offer up something the early Stones had which later tunes didn’t. Although they played mostly covers, the group had to start composing original tunes if the group was to succeed– something Jones was not able to do. Despite having parents who could teach him everything he needed to know, I think he never tried asking because he felt intimidated by them!

Although what we learned him is through the eyes of idol worship from this filmmaker, what’s presented is fairly balanced. He doesn’t venerate Jones too much, and as for what the Stones have to say about him today, he at least has Richards’ respect. As for Mick Jagger, I suspect he declined the request to be interviewed. In the interviews recorded for this documentary, the participants have nothing but respect instead of animosity. It’s great to let what’s passed be in the past, and only remember the good things.

Images above have approved for use by Magnolia Pictures. All rights reserved.

Official Trailer can be seen here.

Ed Sum

Ed Sum is a freelance journalist based in Victoria, BC. He has an avid interest in film, documentary projects, and music.

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