'Bob Marley: One Love' review: Remediation by reggae 2
Kingsley Ben-Adir as Bob Marley in 'Bob Marley: One Love.' Paramount Pucture 

'Bob Marley: One Love' review: Remediation by reggae

The radiant charisma of Kingsley Ben-Adir as Bob Marley certainly kept this film afloat.
Fred Hawson | Mar 21 2024

In 1976, reggae star Bob Marley (Kingsley Ben-Adir) announced that he was going to perform at an event that aimed to promote peace and unity in Jamaica, which was then being wracked by violent conflicts between political factions. However, Marley and his wife Rita (Lashana Lynch) also became victims of this violence. To minimize the risk to their lives, Marley decided to send Rita and his kids to the US, while he exiled himself to London. 

This biopic is directed by American filmmaker Reinaldo Marcus Green. "Bob Marley" is only his fourth feature film, and his third consecutive biopic after "Joe Bell" (2020) and his highest profile film to date, "King Richard" (2021). The latter was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and won its star Will Smith the Best Actor award in the most controversial circumstances. His first film "Monsters and Men" (2018) was also inspired by real events.

I confess that I knew nothing about Marley's personal story or the history of Jamaica, so I went into this film blind. It was interesting to see the turbulence of the political landscape in his native country of Jamaica in which these songs were born. He and his wife had infidelity issues, which of course were not much of a surprise for music superstars like him. He passed away in 1981, a still young 36, and the cause of his death was unexpected.

I only knew of Bob Marley because of his iconic reggae hits sung in his passionate signature style, specifically "I Shot the Sheriff," "No Woman No Cry," and "Redemption Song." While I was happy I discovered more of his discography, it also felt like there were more scenes of these song performances than deeper dives into his life story. Anyhow, the radiant charisma of Kingsley Ben-Adir as Bob Marley certainly kept this film afloat. 

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."