New Biopic takes a look at Bob Marley and his music

One Love shines a light on the life and music of the iconic singer.
Kinglsey Ben-Adir as “Bob Marley” in Bob Marley: One Love from Paramount Pictures.
Kinglsey Ben-Adir as “Bob Marley” in Bob Marley: One Love from Paramount Pictures. /

Music has a life of its own, often outliving the performers who gave them to us. Such is the case with Bob Marley: One Love, a new film that chronicles a few years in the life of the iconic singer.

We pick up in 1976 in Jamaica. The country is torn in two due to an upcoming election, but Marley (Kinglsey Ben-Adir) is planning a free concert. He hopes that it will bring the people together. Instead, it makes him a target.

After Marley and his wife, Rita (Lashana Lynch), are attacked, they leave their home. He takes his talent and his band to England, where he works with his promoter, Chris Blackwell (James Norton), to make his next record. Exodus, his record, becomes a big hit. It leads to a tour all throughout Europe and the world.

But his home country remains in turmoil. Violence and strife continue to tear the country apart. Is Bob Marley strong enough to go back? Will going back make a difference? Those are the questions he wrestles with as he gets a personal diagnosis that changes his future.

Is One Love Worth Checking Out?

It’s been more than 40 years and Marley’s songs have continued to endure and inspire. The singer passed away in 1981, and yet his legacy and place in culture remains strong. I wasn’t around when he was singing his songs, so I was curious to learn more about Marley as an artist and a cultural figure.

The best biopics manage to showcase an artist’s work while opening the door to learn more about them. I feel like that’s what they tried to do with One Love, but it doesn’t always come through. Instead, this feels like a by-the-numbers biopic. We get snapshots into Marley’s life, career, and inspiration, but it doesn’t feel like a great deep dive into what helped him create the music and the message that have inspired millions for generations.

What does work well is the back-and-forth between Marley and Rita. Ben-Adir and Lynch are strong performers, and their scenes together are the heart of the film. We also get some fun glimpses into his iconic music and the film moves at a good pace.

While I wish I’d gotten more depth and exploration of Marley’s life, I enjoyed this film at times. It’s worth checking out for fans of his music and those that want to learn at least a little more about the musical icon.

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