Genre: Biography/Drama
Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Cast: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Lashana Lynch, James Norton, Tosin Cole, Umi Myers, Anthony Welsh, Nia Ashi, Aston Barrett Jr., Anna-Sharé Blake, Gawaine “J-Summa” Campbell, Naomi Cowan, Alexx A-Game, Michael Gandolfini, Quan-Dajai Henriques, David Kerr, Hector Roots Lewis, Abijah “Naki Wailer” Livingston, Nadine Marshall, Sheldon Shepherd, Andrae Simpson, Stefan A.D Wade
Runtime: 1 hr 44 mins
Rating: NC16 (Some Drug References)
Released By: UIP
Official Website:

Opening Day: 14 March 2024

Synopsis: BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE celebrates the life and music of an icon who inspired generations through his message of love and unity. On the big screen for the first time, discover Bob's powerful story of overcoming adversity and the journey behind his revolutionary music. Produced in partnership with the Marley family and starring Kingsley Ben-Adir as the legendary musician and Lashana Lynch as his wife Rita.

Movie Review:

This writer doesn’t claim to know a lot about the subject of this biographical drama. What he can remember seeing though, based on his travels in the Southeast Asian region, is that Bob Marley’s face appears quite often on the T shirts sold at street markets. You would have seen these prints too – the colours are rich and bold, with deep hues of red, green, yellow, and black. These are important colours of the of the Rastafarian flag, symbolising peace, unity and African heritage. Rastafari is an Abrahamic religion that developed in Jamaica during the 1930s. It is evident that Marley’s status of being a symbol of love and hope is something that strongly resonates in people worldwide.

But what’s the real story behind this Jamaican reggae musician who is considered one of the pioneers of the genre? Audiences who are not familiar (and do not like reading, for that matter) can rely on biography movies like this one directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green (King Richard).

The movie chronicles Marley’s rise to fame in the mid 1970s up until his death in 1981. We first see Marley announcing that he will be performing at a concert with the objective of promoting peace amongst warring parties. Like how heroes are often born amidst a political conflict, Jamaica was troubled by gangs, drugs, unspeakable violence between opposing factions, and Marley was at the centre of it.

One notable incident that marked a turning point in Marley’s life is the assassination attempt in his home. This is exhilaratingly captured on screen, and you would gasp and hold your breath seeing the gunmen raid the house. Marley and his wife Rita would survive the ordeal, and eventually split ways as he gets her to bring their children to United States, while he and his band head to London. The rest of the movie sees Marley and his crew creating new works away from their homeland, gaining popularity internationally with their unique brand of music, and eventually home to Jamaica to perform a peace concert.

The movie does a decent job of summarising Marley’s life, before he died from a rare skin cancer in 1981 at the age of 36. Those who are familiar with the musician may argue that the 104 minute runtime isn’t enough to illustrate his greatness and contributions to the music industry, and on a larger scale, humankind. There may also be another perspective to how the movie’s depiction of Marley is too straightforward. Some may associate the music icon with infidelity (he has 11 children from different partners) and use of marijuana, and these complicated matters are not explored in the movie. But we understand why this safe approach is taken for the movie, with Tuff Gong, the brand name associated with a number of businesses started by Bob Marley and the Marley family, being listed as one of the production companies.

British actor Kingsley Ben-Adir (One Night in Miami..., Barbie) does a fine job portraying Marley, and he does his very best to bring the musician to life on the big screen. Thanks to the countless archive footages you can find online, you will see how Ben-Adir delivers an admirable job talking and behaving like Marley. Another cast member who delivers a memorable performance is Lashana Lynch (The Woman King, The Marvels) who plays Rita. One standout sequence sees the couple arguing about Marley’s newfound fame, and what it has done to the relationship between them. Needless to say, Marley’s songs are essential to this biography, and fans would enjoy how they are played throughout the movie. 

Movie Rating:

(A glimpse into the life of the celebrated music icon, with fine performances from Kingsley Ben-Adir and Lashana Lynch)

Review by John Li 

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