Home » Rosa’s Reviews: “Bob Marley: One Love”

Rosa’s Reviews: “Bob Marley: One Love”

“Bob Marley: One Love” is a decent look at a specific window into the life of one of the most remarkable musicians to ever live.

In addition to being a cultural icon, Bob Marley is the subject of the film “Bob Marley: One Love” which follows a specific time frame in Marley’s life. So don’t walk into this film expecting a thorough biography. It focuses on the last three years of his life with some recurring flashbacks to his childhood.

Starring Kingsley Ben-Adir as Bob Marley and Lashana Lynch as his wife Rita, the film follows the icon’s controversial concert in his native Jamaica. The country, which had recently gained independence from Great Britain, was on the verge of a civil war. To bring peace and hope to Jamaica, Marley decides to have a concert in the name of unity.

Ben-Adir has been on my radar since his standout performance in Regina King’s “One Night in Miami” as the human rights activist, Malcolm X. So my interest peaked after hearing Ben-Adir was taking on the role of Bob Marley. I’m not entirely sure what I expected from the performance, but it left an everlasting impression.

Ben-Adir loses himself in this character. For several moments, I genuinely believed that I was watching Bob Marley perform. The voice, the accent, his mannerisms and facial expressions were all meticulously studied and represented.

My Marley knowledge comes from cultural references, interviews, music, and stories from others who knew him. I’ve learned about him through others since I wasn’t around during the peak of his career. Working adjacent to Ben-Adir is the equally talented Lynch who also delivers a committed powerful performance.

Marley’s dedication to seeking peace and unity in his native country is admirable. His message of love is timeless and is simultaneously timely. In our current state where multiple wars are unfolding globally, his message can be one to consider. The music is fantastic! And it chronicles the inception of what’s thought to be one of the most essential albums of the 20th century, Exodus.

For the first 15 minutes, I had some challenges understanding what Ben-Adir was saying. The accent was thick and a bit fast, but I could decipher everything once I got accustomed to his dialect. Another downside to this film is the formulaic structure. It’s a semi-biopic, so many tropes are found here. Lastly, the plot felt spotty at times. It felt like jumping from one thing to another, but it wasn’t distracting enough to disappoint. 

“Bob Marley: One Love” is a decent look at a specific window into the life of one of the most remarkable musicians to ever live. Anchored by an extraordinary leading performance from Ben-Adir, the message of love and unity could not be more timely—a perfect introduction of an icon to the newer generations.



About the author

Rosa Parra

Rosa Parra is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, a member of LEJA (Latino Entertainment Journalists Association), and a member of OAFFC (Online Association of Female Film Critics). She is currently working on her Bachelor's degree in Film and Media studies. She is a Chicana born and raised in East L.A. and currently resides in El Monte, CA.

Enable Notifications OK No thanks