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The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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“One Love” is a moving representation of Jamaican culture

“One Love” successfully brings emphasis to the life of Bob Marley along with Jamaica’s political landscape.

Whether listening to Bob Marley at the beach on a hot summer day or in the dead of winter, his positive persona always radiates. Bob Marley’s timeless message of peace and love continues to shine brightly in the film “One Love,” starring Kingsley Ben-Adir. “One Love” was released on Feb. 14, and covers the life of Reggae superstar Bob Marley. 

Rather than follow Marley’s life from birth to death, “One Love” focuses on his two-year stay in London and the creation of his most famous album “Exodus.” This provides the viewer with a direct look into his life rather than cram to fit a lot into a short period of time. 

Marley is first introduced in a press conference, as he plans to perform a free concert promoting peace in Jamaica. The movie describes Jamaica on the brink of a civil war and overtaken by violence and Marley’s place in the chaos. 

“One Love” displays authentic Jamaican culture and the rastafari religious life through various religious customs and referencing living a rastafarianism life. However, I recommend watching with subtitles as it can be difficult to follow the Jamaican accent. 

The movie lacks some of Marley’s political feelings towards Jamaica while in London, focusing instead on minor career details, including conflicts with his manager and the decision to have a simplistic album cover for “Exodus.”  

Throughout the movie, there are flashbacks to various moments in Marley’s life, which are hard to follow and disrupt the main plot. One repeated flashback shows Marley as a child running away from his father in a burning field, which felt extraneous and disconnected from the narrative. 

As a staunch believer in peace and equality, Marley is determined to bring love to the world and show people a better way of life rooted in Rastafarian beliefs. Instead of portraying Marley as just a perfect and faultless hero, “One Love”  displays his complexities and flaws while still keeping true to the most important aspects of his life, such as his music career and passion.

Featuring Marley’s greatest hits like “Jamming,” and “Three Little Birds,” the film seamlessly intertwines his music with the narrative, offering insight into the production of his songs and their global impact. Marely’s lyrics themselves promote the message of love overpowering hate and equality.  

Ben-Adir accurately depicts Marley’s mannerisms on stage interactions with his wife Rita, played by Lashana Lynch. Marley had numerous extramarital relationships throughout his life, but still provided for Rita. Their dynamic breathes life into the characters, offering a deeper insight into Marley’s character. 

However, “One Love” failed to show just how much of an effect Marley had on Jamaica besides the political aspect, and struggled to cover Marley’s entire life in a two-hour period. Instead, the movie jumped around from different points in his life, leaving the viewer confused with incomplete plotlines.

Capturing the essence of the icon Marley can be challenging, and despite some unclear plot and failed depiction of Marley’s entire story, “One Love” serves as a meaningful portrayal of Jamaica’s political landscape accompanied by stellar music and a strong message, and is definitely worth a watch.

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Eliana Abrams
Eliana Abrams, Reporter

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