Exploring the Biopic of a Reggae Legend: A Review of 'Bob Marley: One Love'

Published March 5, 2024

The film industry has recently seen an influx of musician biopics, with the lives of legendary artists like Elvis, Queen, and Elton John making their way onto the silver screen. The trend continues with a biographical portrayal of the reggae icon Bob Marley, which debuted on Valentine's Day. 'Bob Marley: One Love' delves into Marley's captivating journey to worldwide fame amidst political turmoil in Jamaica.

A Glimpse into Marley's Troubled Times

Set against the backdrop of the political rivalry between Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley and opposition leader Edward Seaga, 'Bob Marley: One Love' embarks on telling the tale of Bob Marley's ascent. The film highlights a significant moment when, after narrowly escaping an assassination attempt, Marley relocates his wife Rita to safety in the United States while he and his band head to London, deeming Jamaica too dangerous.

The Creative Struggle in London

In the United Kingdom, the struggle for Marley isn't just about safety but also about capturing the essence of his music on his new album. His persistence through trial and error in recording sessions eventually leads to 'Exodus,' an album that would forever change the landscape of music.

Performances That Resonate

Kingsley Ben-Adir's transformation into Bob Marley stands as a highlight of the film, channeling the singer's distinct personality. He receives praise similar to that of Austin Butler's celebrated interpretation of Elvis Presley in 'Elvis.' Likewise, Lashana Lynch delivers a commendable performance as Bob's wife, Rita Marley. Her portrayal is widely appreciated, though some viewers may wish her character had more screen time.

A Mixed Bag in Narrative Execution

While director Reinaldo Marcus Green succeeds in portraying the era vividly with rich 70s aesthetics and musical interludes, the film struggles with pacing and narrative. The first half sets up the story effectively, but the film then loses momentum, with Marley's tour offering little in advancement of the plot. As a result, the emotional impact of these scenes is diminished by their length and disconnectedness from the central narrative.

Final Thoughts

Although the movie manages to recover towards its conclusion, it is not enough to fully engage the viewer, leaving the overall story feeling fragmented. Ultimately, 'Bob Marley: One Love' triumphs in its lead performances and attention to period detail but falls short in delivering a consistently compelling storyline. The film earns a rating of 3 out of 5.

biopic, reggae, film