“Bob Marley: One Love”


Metacritic (5/10), Letterboxd (2.5/5), Imdb.com (5/10), TMDB.com (5/10)

In addition to telling an individual’s life story, one of the other primary objectives of a film biography is to provide insight into the protagonist’s character and nature. Unfortunately, that’s where this profile of reggae icon Bob Marley (Kingsley Ben-Adir) tends to come up somewhat short. Director Reinaldo Marcus Green’s biopic about the legendary musician and peace advocate provides viewers with a somewhat scattershot and episodic look at the artist’s life, primarily focused on the last few years of his life, intercut with flashbacks that are largely inserted without explanation and don’t come across as especially insightful or enlightening. To the film’s credit, it features a fine repertoire of Marley’s music, including the origins of many of his works, as well as fine performances by Ben-Adir and Lashana Lynch as the musician’s wife, Rita. However, I came away from this offering feeling as though I didn’t know a lot more about its subject than I did going in, particularly since many story threads are raised but never sufficiently resolved. It also probably didn’t help that the film’s sound quality (in the non-musical sequences) left much to be desired, often resulting in the need to strain to hear and comprehend the dialogue. In many ways, “One Love” feels like a missed opportunity to tell the story of someone who had much to say but whose message doesn’t come across nearly as clearly as it could and should have. Listen to Marley’s music instead – you’ll get more out of one of his albums than you’re likely to absorb from this picture.