There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win.*     -Elie Wiesel

Having made an impromptu decision to sit and watch Bob Marley: One Love solo, I am left satisfied yet dissatisfied; there are so many things to say.

The Script 

Against the backdrop of the biopic produced by Ziggy & Cedella Marley and directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, I can only give kudos and rate the movie as one of Jamaica’s best to date. Ziggy, as producer, decided to emulate and celebrate his parents and bring forth aspects of their relationship often overlooked by gossip mongers or detractors. The film’s most compelling aspect to me was the profound dynamic between Bob and Rita, a story of deep love, spiritual alignment, and unwavering commitment. 

Even though this biopic may well be fulfilling Ziggy’s & Cedella’s dreams of their father and mother, it transcends familial homage, making for a fabulous story and a great, engaging movie.

The Directing 

The directing was excellent; in realizing Ziggy/Cedella’s dreams, it did not go too far overboard in making their parents ‘picture perfect’ nor did it veer into melodrama, instead staying close to actual real-life depictions. 

The movie was about Bob, Rita, and their matrimonial family, leaving little room or relevance for other characters to take center stage. It was skillfully executed and managed to delicately handle the portrayal of Bob’s children from outside relationships and their mother’s without commuting into negative or controversial representations: The movie  avoided such pitfalls.

The story

Like almost everyone, I was left begging for more! I regret the omission of the Zimbabwe Independence Day Concert and the events leading up to it along with some footage, even if taken from tours in other African countries.

I truly feel that its absence was very unfortunate. The Zimbabwe story is significant and would have anchored the violent scene with his Manager, Don Taylor, and left a better taste in our mouths.

Given that the biopic had such a strong musical element, incorporating more of Bob’s live concert tours would have heightened our enjoyment. However, I suspect copyright infringements posed barriers to including them. The audience was undoubtedly left yearning for more.

By focusing on the events surrounding the assassination attempt on Bob, which inevitably entails recounting the political savagery of the era, the film provides a valuable educational experience for younger audiences who may have only heard of these events.

Two particular scenes moved me to tears. The first was Bob’s reunification with his children and chanting to them. The second was his return to Jamaica, where he was embraced by “his” people, ordinary folks, and Rastafarians. 

Portraying Bob as a humble Messiah and messenger/unifier of his people has solidified his power, legacy, and place in history forever. There is ample space and material for the sequel ‘One Love Too.’ All in all, brilliant script, masterful directing, and superb production.

The cast and acting 

The lead actors were excellent. I could see Kingsley Ben-Adir receiving nominations for Best Actor, with Lashana Lynch being recognized for her portrayal of Rita and potentially receiving nominations for Best Supporting Actress at the next Oscars. The rest of the cast was richly representative of our culture, Rastafarians, and locals in their colorful lingo.

The verdict

I thoroughly enjoyed and loved the movie and would watch it again, just to uncover additional layers that may not have been evident in a first viewing and also to get the ‘more’ that we were deprived of. 

This movie, I am sure, will spark a massive resurgence of Bob Marley’s music and his enduring legacy, all while having a positive impact on Jamaica’s image and tourism product. Despite the backdrop of the political violence of the 80s, this movie is a win-win for all. 

Those with bruised egos who felt excluded are free to create their own biopic, incorporating their perspective and sense of importance.


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