Movie review- Bob Marley: One Love


Let it be known that the last movie my wife and I saw at the Spectrum 8 Theatre under its agreement with Landmark Theaters was Bob Marley: One Love on Thursday, February 22, at 4 pm. The theater was crowded, including a woman with five children in our row.

I had heard a lot about the making of the film. Kingsley Ben-Adir was on CBS Mornings; the show and the movie are under the Paramount Global umbrella. The six-foot British actor explained his surprise to be cast to play the musician who was six inches shorter. He had to learn how to play guitar, but most importantly, approximate the patois of the Jamaican legend.

Unfortunately, the movie was a largely by-the-numbers biopic. The review at is a fair representation. For instance, the script is described as “a horrendous, unshaped stream of events rendered with the subtlety of bullet points.”

Less of an issue was that I couldn’t understand the dialogue occasionally. It could have used subtitles in places.
Family ties
One hoped for more. Bob’s son Ziggy promised us at the beginning of the film an “authentic depiction.” Bob’s widow, Rita, is an executive producer. Another of Bob’s sons, Stephen, was involved musically.

And yet…

The music resonated more than any recent film I’ve attended. Many of the tunes I knew. I particularly loved hearing War and the early hit Simmer Down. Also, if you were unfamiliar with Bob Marley, this would be a basic primer.

This may explain why the Rotten Tomatoes score was 43% positive with the critics but 92% positive with fans.  As critic Neal Pollack noted: “This movie isn’t great, but it’s just enough. When you have a built-in audience willing to forgive a multitude of cinematic sins, every little thing about it is gonna be all right.”
For the record
My wife gave me a $100 Landmark gift card for Valentine’s Day. But she bought me TWO, one of which she was going to give me for my birthday in March.

There are a relatively small number of Landmark Theatres; AZ-1, CA-9, CO-4, DC-2, FL-1, GA-1, IL-2, IN-2, MD-2, MA-1, MN-1, MO-1, NJ -1, PA-1, TX-1, WA-1.. Spectrum 8 was the ONLY one in all of New York State. We will unlikely see a film in Cambridge, MA, or Philadelphia.

The films playing at the Spectrum 8 on its last day of being a Landmark Theatre were:

2024 Oscar Nominated Short Films – Animation, one showing. I saw it at the theater.
2024 Oscar Nominated Short Films – Live-action, one showing. I probably would have seen it, given more time.
Bob Marley: One Love, Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green. Two showings. I saw it at the theater.
Madame Web, Directed by S.J. Clarkson. Two showings. As this article suggests, audiences, including me, suffer from superhero fatigue.
Lisa Frankenstein, Directed by Zelda Williams. Two showings. I saw the trailer; I’m not interested.
Argylle, Directed by Matthew Vaughn. Two showings. I saw the trailer; I’m not interested.
The Teachers’ Lounge, Directed by İlker Çatak. One showing. I saw it at the theater.
American Fiction, Directed by Cord Jefferson. Two showings. I saw it at the theater.
The Zone Of Interest, Directed by Jonathan Glazer. Two showings. I saw it at the theater.
Origin, Directed by Ava DuVernay. One showing. I probably would have seen it, given more time.
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