Bob Marley “One Love” Movie Celebrates the Life and Music of a Legend

 By Alissa Reid, April 23, 2024

“One Love” pays tribute to the singer Bob Marley’s significant mark in musical history and highlights Jamaican Rastafari culture. His influence and the many lives he touched brought a heartwarming sensation to viewers who have taken comfort in his music.

Bob Marley, a musician best known for his infectious reggae, led a remarkable life surrounded by positive vibrations.

The 2024 biopic shines a light on the ever-evolving Rastafari life told through the eyes of Bob Marley, played by actor Kingsley Ben-Adir. Throughout this film, Marley’s central mission is to preach love and unity for the oppressed population. During a time of political unrest in Jamaica, Marley’s music and views on social issues provided hope to millions.

Before embarking on the major events of Marley’s life, the Paramount Pictures film begins with a wholesome message from one of his sons. Ziggy Marley appears on screen to announce the family’s full support and endorsement of the movie. This was a necessary input in the biopic process that not only solidified but validated the family’s stamp of approval.

The opening soundtrack song “Get Up, Stand Up” begins the powerful story of overcoming adversity in a world full of trials and tribulations.

Seventeen of Marley’s songs are performed throughout the film by Ben-Adir with the final edits being the artist’s original vocals. It was a smart move keeping Marley’s voice because his unique sound can’t be duplicated.

Ben-Adir did an amazing job of bringing the Marley legacy to life. Ben-Adir’s on screen presence and natural confidence with the cameras was captivating. Toward the end for instance, the actor is shown singing to his kids around a campfire. He passionately sings “Redemption Songs” and you’re instantly serenaded by his beautiful voice.

As a testament to Marley, Ben-Adir channeled the same warm genuine energy. Despite the Brit having relation to Jamaica, the Jamaican accent and mannerisms were done exceptionally well.

Ben-Adir’s raw talent conveyed with charisma, sex appeal, and a splash of playfulness added an element of unspoken attraction to his character. A simple: “Handsome Viewer Discretion Advised” would have been greatly appreciated. Denying this man of his beauty and grace became increasingly hard, and resisting the urge to blush was an even more challenging task.

Every time you assumed you caught your breath the dreadlocks would flip, and the cycle would start all over again.

Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that infers Ben-Adir inhaled the mythology of the legend to better encapsulate the art. When he performs, the enthusiasm is undeniable, and it’s evident that his fans find safety in the music. His intense concert scenes with sweat dripping off his face and the crowd cheering him on are poetic.

Regardless, the actor’s compelling presence played an integral role in setting the tone for this film and highlights why Marley was idolized by many.

Ben-Adir is not the only screen presence that carried this movie. Lashana Lynch played Marley’s wife, therapist, and creative partner. Her character was strong and supportive but deserved more of a backstory. She fulfilled her role of the “loyal wife,” but a more in-depth introduction would have strengthened her part.

The portrayal of their love wasn’t perfect but rather somewhat toxic. Their relationship isn’t showcased much but there are occasional flashbacks of the past. During their real-life marriage, Marley was unfaithful, and the biopic failed to address cheating.

Lynch’s contributions and voice eventually launch Marley’s career. From a film standpoint, there’s a lot of respect for his wife who sacrificed her life to be with Marley.

The cinematic experience of “One Love” visually communicates a fresh and exciting outlook to new viewers. Some of Jamaica’s most beautiful places highlight the sultry aspect of the tropical country. Visuals of the lively culture, delicious food, and pristine beaches are sprinkled in various scenes. However, directors took an even bolder approach by addressing the poverty that enslaved some of Jamaica’s natives.

The less camera-friendly images serve as a reminder that the developing third world country still has a long way to go. It felt as though it was foreshadowing Marley’s path to self-discovery, mastery, and resilience in Jamaica.

A common theme in the context of this film emphasized spreading love and receiving love back. Marley’s spirit relied on spreading the message of peace and love with his written songs. Ben-Adir captures this energetic magnetism in the concert scenes. The audience can’t take their eyes off the screen because he almost looks “at peace with being possessed.” The music has him in a trance where he’s no longer in control because he’s summoning something greater than what meets the eye.

Marley’s lifelong journey to find his purpose is truly inspiring. His impact on the world continues to transcend geographical borders and bring people of all cultures together.

Feature image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

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