The Quiet One: Bill Wyman Documentary Disappoints

Bill Wyman in the Studio in The Quiet One. Photo by Bent Rej Photography.

The Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman manages to open up in The Quiet One but the documentary as a whole is sadly not as compelling as it should be.

There may have been five members of The Rolling Stones but Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have always been more popular.  Perhaps that’s the problem in viewing the documentary.  While Wyman opened up his vast archive starting in 2014, his personal story doesn’t come off as fascinating.  Well, it is but only to a certain extent.  Obviously, people are going to show up to learn more about his time with the band.  But after this, what all is left?

Wyman first joined The Rolling Stones in 1962 before departing in 1993.  His departure came following the Steal Wheels/Urban Jungle Tour in 1989-90.  No announcement would come until early 1993.  Leaving the Stones didn’t mean the end of a musical career.  Wyman would later form Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings. The band mostly focuses on cover songs and playing in smaller clubs.  Could anybody really blame the bassist for wanting to get back to a life without the stadium tours?

Again, both Jagger and Richards would have all the notoriety.  Wyman, on the other hand, would mostly keep to himself.  While the bassist would pen Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Band in 1990.  The book would be the first time in which Wyman spoke about his time spent with the band.  Still, one can only feel that a documentary film feels a bit short with a run time of just over 90 minutes.  What we do have is never-before-seen home movies, photographs, and memorabilia.

While the former band member opens up on life with the Stones and rightly so, he also discusses life with his family.  It’s mostly his third wife and their three daughters.  Ever the quiet one, even this seems rather brief.  It’s almost too brief if you ask me.  Wyman talks about how his name change upset his father.  There’s also his childhood years during the fallout of WW2.

Honestly, outside of Bill Wyman’s time with The Rolling Stones, most of The Quiet One will feel largely forgettable.  There’s just not enough material here that has me wanting to give this film a rewatch anytime soon.  As great as The Rolling Stones are as a band, their story is one that works best focusing on the full band a la The Beatles Anthology.

DIRECTOR:  Oliver Murray
FEATURING:  Bill Wyman

Sundance Selects opens The Quiet One in theaters on June 28, 2019. Grade: 3/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.