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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Bob Marley: One Love (M) - 107 minutes

Jamaican Robert Nesta Marley (6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981), known as Bob, rose to become the world’s foremost reggae singers, guitarists and songwriters.


A spiritual man from humble beginnings, One Love is his life story.


Most of the action takes place from 1976 onwards, when he was already a bone fide star.

At the time, Jamaica was in turmoil. Rival gangs and political parties were literally shooting up the place and brawling. Nobody was safe.

A Rastafarian, who married fellow believer and singer Rita Anderson (Lashana Lynch) in 1966, Marley’s aim was to unite people.


Against advice, he went ahead with plans to take to the stage at what was to be called Smile Jamaica.


That was a free concert that he hoped would bring together warring parties in peace.


But before that could happen, he and his wife were gunned down in their own home. She was seriously injured and he was wounded.


He ended up fleeing to London, without his wife and children, in self-imposed exile for a couple of years.

It is there that Bob Marley and the Wailers recorded the critical and commercially successful album Exodus, with its laid-back style and pulsating bass beats.


But all wasn’t rosy. There was exploitation and womanising, and Marley was diagnosed with an incurable condition.


Bob Marley: One Love paints a fundamentally favourable picture of a musical icon who was largely chilled and, like his fellow Rastafarians, smoked ganja.


He also loved running and soccer, and appeared to leave most of the parenting duties to his wife.

Importantly, co-writer and director Reinaldo Marcus Green has used footage of the times to construct a portrait of civil disobedience.


And remember stay on until the end of the film to see vision of Marley himself.


One Love certainly paints a vivid picture of the great man’s life and times, and his guiding principles, but I struggled with the vocalisation.


In short, I couldn’t understand most of what was being said because the accents were so thick.

That is to take nothing away from Kingsley Ben-Adir, who brought the right amount of warmth and attitude to Marley. There is undoubtedly an aura about him and he wears the halo well.


Lashana Lynch, too, greatly impressed me as his stoic wife, who stood by him and encouraged him, but also faced him fair and square when he took matters too far.


There is a fire and polish about her performance.


They are the key players in Bob Marley: One Love, alongside the Wailers and a couple of record company executives.

And what would a film like this be without the finest of music (such great rhythms) and production design true to the times?


Bob Marley: One Love is endorsed by his family. Among the producers are two of Marley’s children, Ziggy and Cedella, alongside his widow Rita.


It is reverential to the image and weight he carried, while also prizing open a few cracks.


Understanding the dialogue would have been nice, but the movie still struck a chord with me.


Rated M, Bob Marley: One Love scores a 7 out of 10.


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