Film Review #2: “Bob Marley: One Love”


  • Starring: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Lashana Lynch
  • Directed by: Reinaldo Marcus Green
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Running Time: 1 hr 47 mins
  • Paramount Pictures


Nearly 42 years after his death, Reggae music pioneer Bob Marley (1945-81) continues to be legend of near-mythical proportions on a global scale. The only child from a brief marriage between a middle-aged, white British plantation overseer and an 18-year-old black Jamaican girl, Marley grew up in poverty and was bullied because of his mixed ethnicity. Despite this, he went on to have a life that Jim Morrison would have quipped was good enough to have a movie based upon it. Unfortunately, while it contains a near-Oscar worthy performance by British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir (“Secret Invasion,” “One Night in Miami”), “Bob Marley: One Love” falls far short of being a triumphant biopic.


With the involvement and oversight by members of his family, “One Love” delves into a specific timeframe of Marley’s life from his rise to global fame following an assassination attempt in late 1976 to his triumphant return to Jamaica in 1978 to perform the “One Love Peace Concert”. The film, directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green (“King Richard,” “Monsters and Men”), mistakenly does not provide much detail about Marley’s previous 30 years of life other than some repeated imagery that implies a sense of isolation and abandonment within the famed singer. The decision to fly through his trials and tribulations as a young man significantly weakens the sense of his ultimate triumph.


“One Love” tries to prevent the complicated marriage between Rita (played wonderfully by Lashana Lynch, “The Woman King,” “No Time to Die”) and Bob in some meaningful way, yet it too is glossed over with their underlying problems just briefly hinted at. Yes, there is a big scene involving them arguing but its impact is insignificant.


The highlights of “One Love” include Ben-Adir’s performance and, of course, its music. The soundtrack alone is worth the price of admission and should serve to continue to perpetuate Marley’s legacy. However, it you want to know the man on a more in-depth and intimate level, I would highly recommend the 2012 documentary, “Marley.” It is a riveting and detailed account of his life and music from his humble beginnings to his musical triumph to his untimely death.


On a scale of zero to five, “Bob Marley: One Love” receives ★★



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