Paramount Pictures

Bob Marley: One Love

USA, 2024, Director Reinaldo Marcus Green, 104 minutes

Release Date Februart 14, 2024

Reviewer John Jane

Reinaldo Marcus Green’s biographical musical drama explores the last decade of the life and legend of Reggae musician Bob Marley. The film also focuses on his youth and his courtship to Rita Marley in flashbacks. The title is derived from the ska song “One Love” by Bob Marley's original group The Wailers from their 1965 debut album. Marley was raised by a single mother in Trench Town, known as one of the most impoverished and violent neighbourhoods in the western world.

Green’s film shows his subject to be a deeply spiritual man who embraced Rastafari. The director might have considered the use of Standard English sub-titles, since around ninety percent of the dialogue is in either Patois or Jamaican English. Learning this dialect would have been a special challenge to Kingsley Ben-Adir who takes on the title role. Ben-Adir is London born and raised and speaks with a natural British accent. The actor is about the same age as Bob Marley was when he died; however, he doesn’t bear a strong resemblance to the musician. He is about half a foot taller than Marley and the dreadlocks had to be added cosmetically. Ben-Adir’s stature actually worked well for the film, since it added to the actor’s visibility in group scenes.

Lashana Lynch, who portrays Rita Marley is also from London. She turns in a beautifully nuanced performance as Marley’s conflicted wife. She likely had the benefit of discussing the role with Rita Marley herself, who is one of the film’s producers. There are some interesting casting choices in the film: Jamaican singer and model Sevana as Judy Mowatt, Tosin Cole as keyboard player Tyrone Downie, one of the Wailers and the role of as bass guitarist Aston "Family Man" Barrett is played by his son Aston Barrett Jr. – Aston Barrett Sr. passed away just a few days ago at the age 77 (February 3, 2024).

It’s a tribute to Bob Marley son David “Ziggy” Marley and his widow Rita that Forty years after his death, Marley’s music – much of it featured in this film - is heard and enjoyed by fans that weren’t even alive when he died tragically of Melanoma.
when it’s over.

© 2024 John Jane