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Review of the ’Bob Marley – One Love’ film

British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir and Lashana Lynch star in a story of the musician’s life, based on a screenplay.


For someone who isn’t familiar with Bob Marley’s origin story, this music biopic film gives you an insight into what drove Marley to become a leading figure in Jamaica’s history and music history. Kingsley Ben-Adir is great as Bob Marley. The troubled musician’s authenticity and caring nature come through, and the visual likeness is clear to see. The actor’s musical ability is also evident, which is vitally important in this film in order to capture Marley’s musical genius.


Starting in 1976, the film covers the political unrest in Jamaica, and Marley’s life is interwoven with it. At times, the flashbacks into Marley’s childhood are hard to watch, and at first glance, his constant ‘ganja’ smoking may detract from the message that Marley himself is trying to convey. It’s a serious one; we must stand up to evil and in the face of evil and hate, we must show kindness. Hate can’t drown out hate, only love can do that. I think ‘One Love’ as a title sums that up. 


The film chronicles his life but also takes you through the various musical phases in reggae, and Jamacia’s rocky path post-independence. It’s also focused on Marley’s relationship with his wife Rita, which was turbulent and raw. The chemistry between the two lead actors was excellent, and the relationship touches the viewer. The viewer also has no choice but to be confronted with how famous this man was. In an era before smartphones and social media, Marley had fame to a level that probably doesn’t exist today. He wasn’t just famous for being a ‘brand’, he had a whole country that depended on him.


There are some parts that could have been fleshed out. Rita’s backstory and more of the context behind his family would have been appreciated. There was a lot of dialogue about his children, but his family life isn’t shown fully. Maybe this is a testament to how much time he spent away from them, largely because he was in danger. A powerful film with a sad, but also heartwarming ending. His life may have been short, but his legacy will live for a long time.


Catch the film in cinemas now.

Edited by Josh Reidelbach


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