BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE – A Review by Cynthia Flores

BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE – A Review by Cynthia Flores

In the 1981 Rolling Stone obituary, Bob Marley biographer Timothy White wrote, “The pervasive image of Bob Marley is that of a gleeful Rasta with a croissant-sized spliff clenched in his teeth, stoned silly and without a care in the world. But, in fact, he was a man with deep religious and political sentiments who rose from destitution to become one of the most influential music figures in the last 20 years.”   

Even in 2024, that statement still rings true. Bob Marley’s artistry, music, and message of love and unity continue to be an influence. His songs have been covered by countless singers and sampled and quoted by many hip-hop artists shaped profoundly by the Jamaican music Bob Marley defined.

Love instead of hate is still a radical philosophy, and this film shares one of its apostles with us. Masterfully directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, who told the story of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams in the 2021 hit film King Richard, this new film has the power to introduce Marley’s music and call to love one another to a new generation of fans.

This film was utterly supported and co-produced by Bob Marley’s family to celebrate the icon’s life and music. Bob Marley is brought to life by the fantastic Kingsley Ben-Adir. Who not only got lost in the part but was also able to capture the kinetic movements that the real Bob Marley had on stage. The actor learned how to sing and play guitar to do the movie. The final music we hear in the film when he is just fiddling with the guitar and writing the songs is all Kingsley. And where he performs on stage is a mix of Kingsley and Bob’s archival recordings.  

Kingsley brings vulnerability and humanity to Bob Marley on screen, opening up his story of coming from the ghetto and rising to superstar status. Along with Lashana Lynch, who plays his wife, Rita, we see how Bob overcomes adversity that started as an impoverished child who was rejected by his white father and grew up with his Catholic mother in Jamaica. The film uses flashbacks to the parts of his life that led to his revolutionary music.

The film does not shy away from the fallible side of Bob Marley. Instead, it offers a well-rounded, loving portrayal of a man who, through his actions and music fueled by his deeply held Rastafarian beliefs, chose to spread love and unity around the world in a time of great troubles in his country.

I give Bob Marley: One Love 5 stars. It’s so fitting that this beautiful film is opening up on Valentine’s Day. A day we choose to celebrate love, which is what Bob Marley was all about. It’s a must-see for his fans and anyone curious about the man and his wonderful music. It’s not too soon to add this film to the Best of List for 2024.

 

Directed by: Reinaldo Marcus Green

Written by: Terence Winter, Frank E. Flowers, Zach Baylin

Rated: PG-13

Running Time: 1 hr 44 min

Biography/ Drama/ Music

Wide Theatrical Release: February 14th

Starring: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Lashana Lynch, James Norton, Tosin Cole, Anthony Welsh

 

The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.

4 Stars – Good movie/show

3 Stars – OK movie/show

2 Stars – Well, there was nothing else…

1 Star – Total waste of time.

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