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A Story Told Through Music

Review of “Bob Marley: One Love”

Photo by Eddie Mallin / CC BY 2.0

“Bob Marley: One Love” is a biopic of Jamaican reggae singer, guitarist and songwriter, telling the story of his hardships and the adversity he faced as the most successful reggae artist in the world. It was released in theaters on Feb. 14, 2023, directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green. This movie was a beautifully emotional film that showed Marley’s life and impact in his home, Jamaica. Many of his children worked on the movie as producers, as well as the real-life Rita Marley. While it left out some details of Marley’s story, overall, “Bob Marley: One Love,” leaves a great message and shows Marley in a wonderful light. 

The aspect of this movie that stands out against all other parts is the acting. Actor Kingsley Ben-Adir, who portrayed Marley, embodied the character seamlessly. His ability to match mannerisms and act out all the emotional ups and downs with his expressions was incredibly compelling. His performance hit all the marks needed to tell the story. Lashana Lynch portrayed his wife, Rita Marley, and was incredible as well. Her acting was always so complex and realistic, and her range of emotions really tugged at the heartstrings of viewers. Ben-Adir and Lynch gave beautiful performances that make you feel so much of what their characters feel, showing Rita and Bob’s relationship with genuine chemistry and an amazing performance. 

The plot of this movie has the most mixed reviews amongst critics, and while it leaves out details of Marley’s personal life, it tells the story of the music in such a powerful way. It follows the later parts of  Marley’s tragically short life, and mainly revolves around the making of the album “Exodus,” and his battle for peace throughout Jamaica and the world. It includes some flashbacks of Marley’s earlier life sprinkled throughout the film, however, these would have been more impactful had there been more detail. Overall, the plot of this movie, while it left out details of Marley’s story, goes over all the impact he made with his music and serves as a tribute to his memory. It may not have been completely in-depth, but it still shows Marley in an amazing light, which makes for an incredible biopic. 

This movie is absolutely tied together by the music, which was one of the biggest parts of Marley’s life. Ben-Adir learned how to play basic chords on guitar, and then endlessly practiced the songs in Marley’s discography for six months before filming. He displayed his incredible singing voice in the movie and captured the essence of the original music. The music was produced by Ziggy Marley as well as Kris Bowers, an American composer and pianist, and was done with such care and passion. This film is a story told through music, and it succeeds in leaving a powerful message through all the songs and the lyrics. 

While it is facing mixed reviews, “Bob Marley: One Love” is a must-watch for those who already have a lot of knowledge about Bob Marley’s story, or for people who want to know the surface-level details of his impact. It is an emotional and impactful film that absolutely carries on Marley’s legacy with help from his family who helped create this wonderful film.

<Star Rating>

Acting: ★★★★★

Plot: ★★★★

Music: ★★★★★


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