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At The Movies: “One Love” for reggae legend Bob Marley

Give “Bob Marley: One Love” some love.

The movie, told in documentary style, with impressionistic memory flashbacks by Bob Marley of his youth and lifetime milestones, was produced by and with the approval of the family and descendants of Bob Marley, the legendary reggae star.

Bob Marley, born Robert Nesta Marley, Feb. 6, 1945, in Jamaica, was a son of Norval Sinclair Marley, of East Sussex, England, and Cedella Malcolm, of Jamaica. When Bob Marley was 10, his father died at age 70 of a heart attack.

Bob Marley, age 36, died of cancer May 11, 1981, in a hospital in Miami, Fla. His last words to his son Ziggy were: “On your way up, take me up. On your way down, don’t let me down.”

Bob Marley popularized reggae, turning it into a music phenomenon. The success of reggae influenced many genres, led to hybrid styles embraced by young musicians in the United Kingdom and United States, and the discovery and promotion of indigenous music leading to what is known as world music.

Bob Marley espoused the Rastafarian religion, founded in Jamaica in the 1930s. The Rastas believed in Jah, a shortened version of Yahweh or Jehovah, the God of the Bible. A definition of Jah is “respect,” “the everlasting one,” and “He is forever.” Shortly before his death, Bob Marley was baptized into the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

Bob Marley supported social reforms in Jamaica and the world. He survived an assassination attempt in his home in 1976.

Bob Marley was amateur European football player and supporter of Brazilian star Pelé and English football club Tottenham Hotspur.

Bob Marley began his music career in 1963, forming a group with Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, releasing a debut studio album, “The Wailing Wailers,” in 1965, which contained the single, “One Love.”

In his not quite two-decade career, Bob Marley became an international music sensation, performing to stadiums of up to 100,000 fans, and releasing 13 studio albums and two live albums.

Bob Marley’s hits included ”Trench Town Rock” (1971), “Stir It Up” (1973), “Get Up Stand Up” (1973), “No Woman, No Cry” (1974), “Lively Up Yourself” (1974), “Roots, Rock, Reggae” (1976), “Exodus” (1977, from what is regarded as one of the greatest popular music albums of the 20th century), “Jamming” (1977), “Three Little Birds - Don’t Worry ‘Bout A Thing” (1977), ”Punky Reggae Party” (1977), “Is This Love,” (1978), “Redemption Song” (1980) and “Buffalo Soldier” (1983).

Bob Marley’s last concert was Sept. 23, 1980, in Pittsburgh.

In “Bob Marley: One Love,” the movie-goer gets a behind-the-scenes look at Bob Marley, in songwriting, music group rehearsals, studio album recordings, concerts and his private life.

Reinaldo Marcus Green (“King Richard,” 2021, yielding an Oscar, actor, for Will Smith) directs in an intimate style, utilizing hand-held camera, gritty, naturalistic lighting and a casual editing style interrupted by seemingly intentionally-jarring memory flashbacks of Bob Marley.

The screenplay is by Terence Winter (Oscar nominee, adapted screenplay, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” 2014), Frank E. Flowers (director, music video, Post Malone, “Insane,” 2022), Zach Baylin (Oscar nominee, original screenplay, “King Richard,” 2022) and Green from a story by Winter and Flowers.

The cinematography is by Director of Photography Robert Elswit (Oscar recipient, cinematographer, ”There Will Be Blood,” 2008; Oscar recipient, cinematographer, “Good Night, and Good Luck,” 2006).

The production design of “Bob Marley: One Love” includes colorful Jamaica-style clothing, Bob Marley’s right-hand drive BMW, the recreation of several seminal Bob Marley concerts and clouds of marijuana smoke.

Bob Marley is played convincingly by Kingsley Ben-Adir (“Barbie,” 2022; TV’s “Vera,” 2014-18), who replicates the body language, patois and apparently chimerical moods of the reggae star.

We hear many of the original Bob Marley and the Wailers’ recordings in the film. In some instances, the vocals of Kingsley Ben-Adir are blended in.

Rita Marley is portrayed beautifully by Lashana Lynch (“The Marvels,” 2023; “The Woman King,” 2022; “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” 2022; “No Time To Die,” 2021’ “Captain Marvel,” 2019). Lynch conveys the tough love of Rita Marley, who doesn’t always withhold judgment of Bob Marley, a man of faith not always faithful to her.

Bob Marley and his wife Rita Marley, who he married in 1966, had three children, including Ziggy Marley. Bob Marley’s website lists his 11 additional children.

Notable in supporting roles are James Norton as Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records, for which Bob Marley recorded and gained much of his success, and Michael Gandolfini as Howard Bloom, a music publicist.

As I walked out of the movie theater, a young man was singing to his date the lyrics to one of Bob Marley’s songs, “Is This Love”:

“We’ll be together

With a roof right over our heads

We’ll share the shelter

Of my single bed”

Outside, as a sliver of moon smiled in the sky of the Center Valley twilight over a snow-covered sidewalk at the outdoor mall, the young man continued singing to the young woman. It was Valentine’s Day evening, after all.

“Bob Marley: One Love” is a welcome addition to the lore and legend of Bob Marley. If you’re a fan of Bob Marley, reggae music and the confluence of music, politics and society, don’t miss it.

“Bob Marley: One Love,”

MPAA rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned: Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13) for marijuana use and smoking throughout, some violence and brief strong language. Genre: Biography, Drama, Music; Run time: 1 hour, 44 minutes. Distributed by Paramount Pictures.

Credit Readers Anonymous:

“Bob Marley: One Love” was filmed in Kingston, Jamaica, and London England, Dec. 5, 2022, to April 28, 2023. Rita Marley, Ziggy Marley and Cedella Marley are listed as among the movie’s producers. Orly Marley and Brad Pitt are listed as among the movie’s executive producers.

At The Movies:

“Bob Marley: One Love” was seen in the Dolby Cinema at AMC, AMC Center Valley 16, a great format for a music biography movie, especially one about reggae music and the music of Bob Marley.

Theatrical Movie Domestic Weekend Box Office,

Feb. 23-25: “Bob Marley: One Love” continued at No. 1 two weeks in a row, $13.5 million in 3,597 theaters, $71.1 million, two weeks, keeping “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba - To the Hashira Training” opening at No. 2 with $11.5 million in 1,949 theaters, as “Ordinary Angels” opened at No. 3 with $6.5 million in 3,020 theaters.

4. “Madame Web” dropped two places, $6 million in 4,013 theaters, $35.4 million, two weeks. 5. “Migration” dropped one place, $3 million in 2,434 theaters, $120.4 million, 10 weeks. 6. “Argylle” dropped three places, $2.8 million in 3,060 theaters, $41.6 million, four weeks. 7. “Wonka” dropped one place, $2.5 million in 2,203 theaters, $214.5 million, 11 weeks. 8. “Drive-Away Dolls,” opening, $2.4 million in 2,280 theaters. 9. “The Beekeeper” dropped two places, $1.9 million in 2,157 theaters, $63.1 million, seven weeks. 10. “The Chosen: 54 Episodes 4-6,” $1.8 million in 2,090 theaters, $7.8 million, two weeks.

Movie box office information from Box Office Mojo as of Feb. 25 is subject to change.


March 1:

“Dune: Part Two,”

PG-13: Denis Villeneuve directs Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Dave Bautista, Christopher Walken, Léa Seydoux, Léa Seydoux and Charlotte Rampling in the Action, Adventure, Drama. Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) unites with Chani (Zendaya) and the Fremen while seeking revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.

Movie opening information from Internet Movie Database as of Feb. 25 is subject to change.

Three Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes

CONTRIBUTED IMAGE BY PARAMOUNT PICTURES Reggae, mon: Kingsley Ben-Adir (Bob Marley), “Bob Marley: One Love.”