‘Bob Marley: One Love’ is an Underwhelming Biopic (Review)

by | Feb 14, 2024


In a time where Hollywood is obsessed with producing biopics, Bob Marley: One Love leaves a lot to be desired.

There are the two types of films that studios cannot stop making on such a frequent basis: remakes and biopics. And speaking of biopics, we’ve gotten some really good biopics over the last few years such as Rocketman and Straight Outta Compton that stretch the boundaries of a standard A-to-B biopic. Unfortunately, Bob Marley: One Love is one of those A-to-B biopics, as it comes off as very uninspiring to the point where you’ll likely forget about it on your drive home from the movie theater.

While Bob Marley: One Love is underwhelming, there are two pleasant things about this movie that show there was something there if other areas were tinkered with. One, Kingsley Ben-Adir delivers a strong, genuine performance as Bob Marley. He often comes across exactly how you’d think Marley would have, and his Jamaican accent was spot on. There were a few scenes where you could obviously tell he was singing to a track. In one of the year’s first very good performances, it’s a shame such a forgettable script and mediocre directing drags down Ben-Adir’s portrayal of a music legend. The second pleasant aspect is the film’s runtime. Most of these biopics are pushing beyond two-and-a-half hours, but One Love clocks in at about an hour and 44 minutes. That is a blessing and a curse, because one has to wonder if a longer cut would have been better. But based on what we got, you won’t waste too much of your time with where it landed.

Bob Marley: One Love' Review: Reggae Icon's Biopic Never Catches Fire

The two biggest issues with One Love struggles with are the mediocre directing and unevenly paced script. What Marley accomplishes seems way too easy and as a viewer, you feel like you blink and he’s just on tour living his best life. The directing, in particular, doesn’t do a good job in getting you emotionally invested in the characters so as they go through ups and downs. For someone that died at such a young age, you don’t really care much about the musician or his legacy that much by the time the credits roll. It feels as if there was so much more that could have been said about Marley’s life, or at least could’ve been spotlighted more to give us a better sense of his impact on the world.

One Love doesn’t challenge you as a viewer and it honestly feels like a movie that no one really asked for or needed. Bob Marley was a great man, and his story has a tragic ending. One Love just feels like the trailer to what should have a much more flushed out story that celebrated and honored the legacy of the man that inspired millions. Maybe Hollywood is doing too many biopics to where we all have fatigue, but One Love feels unnecessary. I hope that Kingsley Ben-Adir gets offered more roles off of this so it wasn’t for nothing. The man has talent, but it’s a shame his talent matched with Marley’s story couldn’t have made for something truly special that we could all be talking about this time next year during awards season.

RATING: ★1/2

(out of five stars)