© Paramount Pictures Germany GmbH

Bob Marley: One Love
U.S.A. 2024

Opening 15 Feb 2024

Directed by: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Writing credits: Terence Winter, Frank E. Flowers, Zach Baylin, Reinaldo Marcus Green, Terence Winter
Principal actors: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Lashana Lynch, James Norton, Tosin Cole, Umi Myers

It is 1976 and Jamaica is facing a civil war where two political parties, the Jamaica Labour party (JLP) and the People’s National Party (PNP) along with local gangs have created an atmosphere of chaos and violence where no one is safe. It is at that precise moment when Bob Marley (Kingsley Ben-Adir) makes the monumental decision of putting together a people’s concert for peace. The Smile Jamaica Concert not only spreads his influence but will have a political impact to unite the people of his country. Reinaldo Marcus Green’s film touches briefly on Marley’s upbringing but mostly concentrates on the years between 1976 and 1978, starting in Kingston, Jamaica, then London, then his tours with the final concert back in Jamaica.

From the get-go, Hollywood’s biopic-drama of Bob Marley: One Love feels like of a perfectly strategically planned promotional campaign. Opening on Valentine’s Day in the US and in the middle of Black History Month, this film has an important story to tell. There is a reason that Bob Marley is a major icon in the world of music, but his life is very complicated and not easily told. Both Kingsley Ben-Adir and Lashana Lynch playing Marley’s wife Rita work hard to meet the expectations of their characters, but something seems to be lacking in the script, and at times the storyline is just boring, which is such a shame. When we see the actual videos of Bob Marley at the end of the film, we are reminded what a complicated man he was and that this cleaned up version of Bob craves for the grittiness of the 1970s; something that was so beautifully captured in the film about the British rock group Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody (2018).

On the positive side, this film can be used as a tool to help the younger generation understand Bob Marley, reggae music, and Rastafarianism. When Marley embraced the Rastafari religious movement to its fullest, he incorporated its beliefs using spiritual rhetoric into his songs. The film is a tribute to Marley’s works and albums including songs such as “Coming in from the Cold” and “Redemption Song,” which remind us of his everlasting impact on the artistic world today. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)

The theaters below show films in their original language; click on the links for showtimes and ticket information.
Interviews with the stars, general film articles, and reports on press conferences and film festivals.
Subscribe to the free KinoCritics monthly email newsletter here.