Bob Marley : One Love Review

A loving and inspiring tribute to a man who left this world much too soon

As a father I’ve tried to share my love for musicians I grew up listening to to my son. It’s a family tradition. My father introduced me to Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley. I introduced my son to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and many others. But there was one artist I neglected to share with my son, so it was with great pride when, at the age of 14, he asked me if I’d ever heard of Bob Marley? Of course I had. He was another favorite. The pride I felt came from the fact that my son, without my input, was now listening to the music of a man who had passed away three years before he was born.

It is a tough time to live in Jamaica. With two very opposite people trying to take power, the citizens of the Island country are caught between both factions. Enter Bob Marley (Ben-Adir) a Rastafarian musician who, despite his sometimes political posturing in his music, only wants to bring the people of his country together. He and his band, the Wailiers, are currently getting ready for a large concert when their rehearsal is interrupted by gunfire. Marley and his manager are shot, as was Marley’s wife, Rita (Lynch). But Marley will not be deterred in his quest to share his music and his message of peace with the world.

Produced with the approval and input of Marley’s son, Ziggy, “Bob Marley: One Love” takes a look not only at the man, but at the rise of a new music genre’ including the creation of, in my opinion, Marley’s greatest album, “Exodus.” But don’t take my word for it. “Rolling Stone” magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time lists “Exodus” at number 71.

While the music is important, it is the man we learn about. As portrayed by Ben-Adir, Bob Marley is a man like every other man. He has his faults, and the film does not try to hide them from the audience. He knows what he has to do to get his music heard – mostly traveling constantly – yet sometimes questions the methods of how his popularity is being achieved. When Rita reminds him, “if you’re going to swim in pollution, you’re going to get polluted,” he realizes that, try as he might, he can’t control everything.

The performances are outstanding, with Mr. Ben-Adir seemingly channeling the spirit of Bob Marley. From the way he moved to the way he spoke and sang, it is an amazing performance. Ms. Lynch gives Rita Marley her own voice, playing her as both a loving and supportive wife as well as a no-nonsense woman who is not afraid to speak her mind. The music, of course, is pure bliss. Most people can tell you that Bob Marley sang “I Shot the Sherrif,” “Jamming,” and “No Woman No Cry” and the film highlights those songs but you also get a taste of some of Marley’s lesser known songs, all of them enjoyable.

Thanks to the hard work of Ziggy Marley, “Bob Marley: One Love” is a loving and inspiring tribute to a man who left this world much too soon. But his music, and his message, lives on.

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