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The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Cinema with Sam: ‘Bob Marley: One Love’ just another biopic

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“Bob Marley: One Love” centers around the reggae musician’s career. (Photo courtesy of IMDb)

It seems like every year we get a new biopic about a famous musician, and the year 2024 is no different with Reinaldo Marcus Green’s biopic “Bob Marley: One Love” (2024) hitting the silver screen.

The film stars Kingsley Ben-Adir as legendary reggae musician Bob Marley. It is set primarily during the 1970s, a time of significant political conflict affecting daily life in Marley’s home country of Jamaica. The film also stars Lashana Lynch as Rita Marley and James Norton as producer Chris Blackwell.

With previous works such as “King Richard” (2021) and the HBO mini-series “We Own This City” (2022), Green does an average job of mixing style with purpose in “One Love.” The camera placement in each scene and the stylish and bold color grading of the images create meaningful and impressionistic moments with the film’s characters, allowing most of the viewing experience to be nice.

However, some scenes placed sporadically across the film look grey and dull. While small in number and short when present, the concert sequences are well-shot with excellent sound design.

Even though it is evident by looking at his throat that Ben-Adir is not singing as hard as he should be for a concert performance, the lip-sync of Bob Marley’s actual voice in place for those scenes is well done.

The writing by Terence Winter, Frank E. Flowers, Zach Baylin and Green makes Bob Marley a very likable character, seemingly similar to the man in real life. Rita Marley is also a character who is very easy to connect with. Ben-Adir and Lynch are both great in their respective roles, but I wished their chemistry was better on screen.

Their relationship, while critical to Bob Marley’s journey in the film, felt forced for the majority of the runtime. Additionally, I thought the minor side plot regarding Bob Marley’s affairs while married to Rita Marley should have been expanded more. The closest we get to this is seeing Bob Marley with Cindy Breakspeare, one of the women with whom Bob Marley had a relationship during his marriage.

Something “One Love” does an excellent job of is informing and showing the viewer Bob Marley’s various political stances and wisdom from the beginning of the opening title sequence to the end of the film. The use of Bob Marley’s music in these moments and throughout the movie heightens the emotions and messages being conveyed.

Though the film is very uplifting and technically well-made, “Bob Marley: One Love” sadly has too many striking similarities to both “Bohemian Rhapsody” (2018) and “Rocketman” (2019) and does not stand out from the pack. It adds nothing new to the biopic genre and surprisingly made me question whether that was worth seeing in the theater over waiting for streaming.

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About the Contributor
Sam Cohen, Movie Columnist
Sam Cohen (he/him/his) is a junior majoring in Film and Media Studies. He won the Special Grand Jury Prize for his Comedy short film “The Gum Run” at the 2019 Montclair Film Festival Emerging Filmmakers Competition. Sam writes weekly reviews of recent TV Shows and Movies while occasionally reviewing older, forgotten classics. When not reviewing, discussing, or watching films, Sam is also a part of many extracurriculars on campus, including being a co-captain of the Ultimate Frisbee team, a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity, and an officer of the Film Society.

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