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The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

“One Love:” Another good music biopic

When it comes to recent music biopics, “Bob Marley: One Love” falls third in my opinion, behind “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Elvis,” but I still enjoyed it for both the soundtrack and the film as a whole. 


Music fans came out in droves to view and support the film, while critics were not as pleased. 


Biopics are not critics’ favorites. “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Elvis” got lucky, although the work that went into making the films was extensive and impressive, both Queen and Elvis Presley were bigger stars at their times and were less outright political than Marley.  


From the start, I was immersed in the plot. If you know Marley’s story, you know that he was shot two days before an important peace concert in Jamaica during the political civil war in December 1976. This is where the movie starts. 


Even though I knew Marley was shot, and survived, I still gasped when his attempted assassination was dramatically displayed on screen, which attests to the well-crafted emotionality and pathos of the film. 


We get bits and pieces of Marley’s childhood through flashbacks as the movie progresses.


Kingsley Ben-Air, who recently played one of the Kens in “Barbie,” portrayed Marley phenomenally. The costume, hair and makeup departments did a great job of transforming Ben-Air, but his acting and charisma pulled together the convincing character of Marley, similar to how Rami Malek embodied Fredie Mercury and Austin Butler transformed into Elvis. 


In interviews, Ben-Air said he was concerned about his height when filming first started, as Ben-Air is a couple inches taller than Marley. But that doesn’t matter. Sure, a physical like-ness is helpful when it comes to the believability of depicting a real life person, but it is most important to accurately capture the personality of the star. Ben-Air does exactly that.


One aspect of the film that left me scratching my head was Marley and Rita’s (played by Lashana Lynch) relationship. The emotions fell flat for me. It seemed like the actors were confused on what emotions to portray towards each other. The scenes the two share are dry, and I would have liked to see more affection or anger: one or the other. 


There was only one emotional fight scene between the couple. I know that Marley had three children with Rita, and she had two from a previous marriage, but Marley had six other children with six other women, which the film only hinted at. The real-life Rita must have felt something other than indifference in the situation, which was all I was getting from her character. 


I am not asking for more couple disputes on screen, but some more emotion one way or the other would have made their on screen relationship more convincing. 


I’ve mentioned that Marley had many children, who also had a hand in the movie from music supervisor (fittingly) to various producers, which was reassuring to know that Marley’s legacy and story lives on through his children. 


Like many others I mainly enjoyed “One Love” for Marley’s music that I know and love.

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