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The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

Peace through music

Mixed feelings about the new Bob Marley biopic
Fair use from Paramount Pictures

On Feb. 14, Paramount Pictures released “Bob Marley: One Love” starring Kingsley Ben-Adir as the world renowned Jamaican singer-songwriter and activist. Audiences are loving the film — however many critics are arguing the biopic does not do justice to Marley’s life.

“One Love” is a representation of Bob Marley’s success in his career, his family and his movement towards peace. The movie follows Marley through his early life as a kid and to his tragic passing at 36 from cancer. In the 1970s, Jamaica was facing violent internal struggles and was on the brink of a civil war. Marley’s goal was to bring the country peace through the power of music.

Bob Marley’s son, Ziggy Marley, worked as a producer for the film. Other members of Marley’s family also helped work on the film to ensure authenticity. The process for finding an actor suitable for the role proved to be difficult. Some critics have argued that hiring Ben-Adir was a way to cater the film toward the white gaze. Many had hoped for a Jamaican actor to be chosen, but Ziggy Marley landed on Ben-Adir because of his “emotional depth.” Ben-Adir had limited time to “fully transform” into Bob Marley, but he showed dedication to the role by learning how to play the guitar, learning Marley’s mannerisms and looking the part.

I enjoyed this movie because of its emphasis on Marley’s morals. Peace was the most important thing to Marley so it was important for the producers to implement it strongly into the script. They provided context for Marley’s motives by giving background information regarding the conflict occurring in Jamaica. “The One Love Peace Concert” in 1978 was one of the biggest and most impactful parts of Marley’s career. Through music he encouraged the people of Jamaica to unite and promoted peace. The movie does a good job of showing his genuine intent behind the concert. It came with so many risks, but Marley did it anyway and put everything on the line.

I thought the movie’s organization of time was a strength of the film and it allowed the emotion to feel so real. The flashbacks to when he was a kid gave the film a feeling of innocence and allowed viewers to draw comparisons from his early life to where he ended up. He did not come from much and his success was practically self made. When the film shows him as a younger boy, they highlight his dreams and ambitions. Throughout the film we see those dreams become a reality as the movie takes a relatively chronological path.

This movie is a noble ode to Bob Marley — however it does feel like it has gaps. If someone were to go into the movie knowing absolutely nothing about Bob Marley, there are parts that may be harder to follow. In the movie when they show his career really starting to pick up it feels a bit fast paced and is missing certain details. There are also aspects that could have been expanded upon. I would’ve really liked to know more about his relationships with others. It is through music that he is really able to connect with people and build those relationships, but the film doesn’t go very deep into any of the relationships. If we had gotten more of a look into those relationships, a new level of his emotional intelligence could have been uncovered and the film would have felt more personal.

All in all, I would highly recommend watching “Bob Marley: One Love.” If you are interested in the fascinating life Marley led, then this movie is for you. This movie was a great way to commemorate the life Marley led: a life of peace, unity and love.

“Bob Marley: One Love”: ★★★★☆

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About the Contributor
Hanna Lipschultz, Echo Staffer
Hi! My name is Hanna and I am a junior.  It is my first year on Echo and I am super excited!  I swim for the SLP Orioles and the Hopkins Hurricanes.  When I’m not swimming I enjoy traveling, playing tennis, and listening to music.

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