One Love Film Review

Áine Goulding

Rating: 3/5

The newly released biographical film, Bob Marley: One Love, directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green explores the life of Bob Marley, and Bob Marley and The Wailers, leading up to the ‘One Love Peace Concert’ (1978) in Jamaica. Kingsley Ben-Adir and Lashana Lynch’s portrayal of Bob and Rita Marley is tremendous, and while that the film greatly highlights the ‘One Love Peace Concert,’ there were elements of his life that I wanted to see more of.

Focused primarily from 1976 to 1978, the film gives us glimpses into Marley’s life and the world surrounding him. According to, during this time Jamaica was “brutally divided by political alliances.” The film shows this tension arising, with the assassination attempt on Marley and others shortly before the ‘Smile Jamaica Concert,’ held to ease tensions between The People’s National Party (PNP) and The Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

The film follows Marley to London afterwards, where he stayed and recorded the album, Exodus. We are shown small glimpses into the album’s formation, such as the creation of its cover and some songs. The film heavily explores the meaning behind their music and the message Bob Marley and The Wailers want to convey.

The film’s primary focus was on the ‘One Love Peace Concert,’ although very little of the concert was actually shown in the end. Although I am glad that we are at least shown the iconic moment during the performance, when Marley joins political party leaders, Michael Manley (PNP) and Edward Seaga (JLP) hands together. The film also shows us live clips of Marley during the concert and more, which is always good include in a biopic.

Lynch’s and Ben-Adir’s performances are the heart of this film. Their portrayals and musicality bring it to life. However, I wanted to see a deeper exploration of Bob and Rita Marley’s relationship in the film. Throughout it, I was left wanting a closer examination of his life.

The film mainly explores Marley’s past, but his legacy should have been included as well. Bob Marley and The Wailer’s music is played and loved all over the world; their album Exodus (1977) was named Album of the Century by TIME in 1999.

Marley’s advocation for peace and change is seen all around the world, where his influences can be found too. According to, we can see his voice featured among protests:

“The uncompromising sentiments expressed on Bob’s “Get Up Stand Up” in particular are commonplace at these demonstrations, with masses of people around the world chanting: “So now we see the light, we’re gonna stand up for our rights!”

This film is a great watch to learn about the ‘One Love Peace Concert,’ Marley’s love for music and a look into his life, but you may be stuck wanting more at the end. While Bob Marley: One Love has fantastic performances and phenomenal music, it felt unfinished; I would have liked to see more about the impact his music has on people today.

Áine Goulding