12 February 2024 (released)
At the heart of the film is Kingsley Ben-Adir’s portrayal of Bob Marley. Ben-Adir effortlessly captures Marley’s magnetic charisma and unwavering passion for his music, delivering a performance that is both captivating and deeply authentic. His portrayal allows audiences to connect with the spirit of Marley, reminding us of the profound impact his music continues to have on people around the world.
However, it’s not just Ben-Adir who shines. Lashana Lynch delivers an equally standout performance as Rita Marley, Bob’s wife and a crucial figure in his life and career. Lynch brings depth and nuance to the role, portraying Rita as a strong, supportive presence who played perhaps the most integral singular role in Marley’s journey. Her chemistry with Ben-Adir is palpable, adding emotional weight to their scenes together and providing insight into the personal dynamics of the Marley family. It shows that there would be no legacy like there is today if it wasn’t for her.
While the film’s narrative may feel somewhat disjointed at times, jumping between key moments in Marley’s life without fully examining their significance. From the peace concert (which could’ve been explored far more) to the personal struggles he encountered grappling with fame. The focus was much about the creation and inspiration of the exodus album. It does nonetheless succeed in highlighting the importance of Rastafarian culture and the enduring message of unity and love that Marley embodied. From his humble beginnings in Trenchtown to his rise to international fame, the film pays homage to Marley’s roots and the cultural influences that shaped his music and worldview.
One of the film’s greatest strengths lies in its portrayal of Marley as more than just a musician – he was a messenger of hope and social change. Through his music and activism, Marley challenged the status quo and advocated for justice, equality, and peace. Bob Marley: One Love captures this aspect of Marley’s legacy with poignancy, reminding audiences of the power of art to inspire positive change in the world. ‘And it’s sometimes the messenger has to become the message’- Rita Marley.
Ben-Adir’s physical performance of Marley’s most beloved songs are nothing short of electrifying, transporting audiences to the heart of Jamaica’s vibrant music scene. These moments serve as a powerful reminder of Marley’s enduring influence and the timeless relevance of his music. Bob Marley: One Love may not be a flawless tribute to the legendary musician, but it nonetheless succeeds in capturing the essence of his spirit and the enduring impact of his music. With standout performances from Kingsley Ben-Adir and Lashana Lynch, as well as breathtaking musical sequences and a poignant exploration of Marley’s cultural and social significance. Any fan who grew up in this era will appreciate the heartfelt homage to the culture, and true icon.