Rated: PG-13
Release Date: 02/14/2024
Production Company: Paramount Pictures

Kingsley Ben-Adir, Lashana Lynch,
James Norton, Michael Gandolfini, Anthony Welsh and Tosin Cole.

Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green. Producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Cedella Marley, Rita Marley, Ziggy Marley and Robert Teitel. Executive Producers: Brad Pitt, Orly Marley, Richard Hewitt, and Matt Solodky. Screenwriters: Terence Winter, Frank E. Flowers and Zach Baylin. Music: Kris Bowers. Cinematography: Robert Elswit.
By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Kingsley Ben-Adir who was sensational as Malcolm X in the 2020 drama, "One Night in Miami," delivers another powerhouse performance as reggae legend and visionary Bob Marley in the biopic, "Bob Marley: One Love."

However, what is rather surprising about "One Love," which was co-written by Terence Winter, Frank E. Flowers, and Zach Baylin and produced by Marley's family--his son Ziggy, his widow Rita and daughter Cedella--is how the film barely scratches the surface of Marley's tumultuous and influential music career.

With "One Love," director/co-writer Reinaldo Marcus Green ("King Richard") focuses on the years 1976 through 1978. Perhaps a deeper dive into Marley's complicated and storied life would have resulted in a movie longer than the run time of both "Killers of The Flower Moon" and "Oppenheimer."

Still, despite the movie's rushed feel, we get a glimpse into Marley's upbringing which is often shown in flashbacks of him as a child (Nolan Collignon) and teen (Quan-Dajai Henriques).

"One Love" centers on Bob Marley's life between 1976 and 1978. Everyone is on edge about his upcoming Smile show. That's because Jamaica is embroiled in violent conflict with political factions jockeying for power and turf.

What's worse, is the chaos has landed smack dab at Marley's door. Prior to the concert, gunmen break into his compound, shoots his wife Rita (another fabulous performance by Lashana Lynch, "The Woman King" and "The Marvels") in her car, and almost kills her. Marley is shot as well, but luckily, it's only a flesh wound.

The incident is tough for Marley to shake. He insists that Rita take the kids and live with his mother Cedella Malcolm (Nadine Marshall, TV's "Champion") until things settle down. Marley decides to leave Jamica for London. It's here he immerses himself in music. He reunites with his band, The Wailers and begins recording songs which eventually comprised the groundbreaking and masterpiece album Exodus. The album featured some of Marley's biggest hits like "Jamming," "Waiting in Vain," "Three Little Birds," One Love/People Get Ready" and the title track.

There is an interesting scene with Marley discussing the "Exodus" album cover with music publicist Howard Bloom (an almost unrecognizable Michael Gandolfini, "Beau if Afraid"). Bloom believes the album should have the group's picture on it and believes it won't garner much attention without it. Marley likes the simplicity of just the word in red. Of course, Marley knew what he was doing. In 1999, Time Magazine hailed "Exodus" as the best album of the 20th Century.

"Bob Marley: One Love" doesn't really showcase the political and militant side of Marley but offers a softer and more sanitized version of the singer. The movie does, however, reveal the strain of Marley's stardom and other circumstances like how his string of extramarital affairs—and the kids that came from them-- shook his marriage. Yet, Rita remained his strength and force even when Marley was diagnosed with a rare skin cancer that claimed his life in 1981. Marley was only 36 years old.

Against the backdrop of all the scattered parts in "One Love" is the music which is scored by Kris Bowers (“The Color Purple” and “Green Book”). While the film may rock a bit unsteadily at times, the music never falters. "No Woman No Cry," "I Shot the Sheriff," "Get Up, Stand Up," "Redemption Song," "Simmer Down" are absolute soul stirrers and sound better than ever.

"Bob Marley: One Love" isn't a perfect film, but it is a very good one which Kingsley Ben-Adir masterfully brings to life. The movie celebrates and honors the legacy of Marley whose brilliant music continues to inspire and influence artists throughout the world.

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch my movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays now at 5:17 p.m. and 6:47 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.

Look At This Trailer For "BOB MARLEY: ONE LOVE"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.


Year Released: 1975
Running Time: 109
Production Company: Paramount Pictures
Director: Berry Gordy, Tony Richardson and Jack Wormser
Director of Photography: David Watkin
Screenwriter: John Byrum and Toni Amber
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


Do you know where you're going to?
Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to?
Do you know?
Do you get what you're hoping for? When you look behind you, there's no open doors. What are you hoping for? Do you know? "Theme from Mahogany...
The "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" was sung by Diana Ross in the 1975 movie "Mahogany." But, who initially recorded the song in 1973?
"Roberta Flack"
"Natalie Cole"
"Deniece Williams"
"Thelma Houston"