Bob Marley: One Love Parent Guide
Bob Marley's message comes through loud and clear but the movie's dialogue needs subtitles.
Parent Movie Review
Jamaica in the mid-1970s is a country rocked by ongoing violence and political instability, and it’s here that a young reggae singer named Bob Marley (Kingsley Ben-Adir) is trying to make a difference. His deep interest in Rastafari beliefs and his country’s wellbeing push him to try to bring the divided nation together with one big free concert.
The concert isn’t universally popular, and for his trouble, Bob finds himself confronted with an armed home intruder who shoots him, his wife Rita (Lashana Lynch), and some of his friends and fellow musicians. While everyone survives the attack, Bob realizes that his ideals might have a real cost to him and his family. Now working on a long European tour, Bob must contemplate the future he wants for himself and the people he loves.
Are you familiar with Jamaican accents? That’s not an idle question. If the answer isn’t “yes, intimately”, you might have some difficulty understanding large parts of the movie. I’m usually okay with accents, but they come pretty thick in this film, a problem that worsens when people talk over one another or there’s music in the background. I think I was lucky if I only missed a third of the spoken dialogue. Now, this was not a problem for the rest of the audience (many with Caribbean roots) at my screening. They enjoyed the movie enough to start clapping when the credits rolled. But if you’re not fluent in Jamaican slang, you might want to wait for this one to show up on a streaming service that has subtitles.
Once you get past the linguistic issue, you find a remarkably familiar music biopic formula. It’s not objectionable, but it is starting to get a little worn from overuse, and I’m about ready for some changes to the template. While focused on a fairly narrow slice of Bob Marley’s life, the film includes flashbacks to his earlier years. Not only do these fail to provide any new insights to his character; they suck narrative momentum out of the (already slow) main plot like some kind of celluloid vampire.
That being said, this is a pretty tame movie about the music industry. Normally, entertainment biopics are soaked in sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll – see Rocketman, for example. Amazingly, there’s no on-screen sex in this film, but given Bob Marley’s public embrace of marijuana, it’s no surprise that basically every adult on screen is smoking marijuana at almost any given time. Apart from that, there’s not too much for parents to worry about. The firearms violence is tamer than the average Marvel movie and there’s a relatively low profanity count (although I certainly missed some cuss words). But unless you’re a lifelong Marley fan (Bob, not Jacob, sorry Mr. Dickens), I don’t know that this film is going to be the best hook for you.Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green. Starring Kingsley Ben-Adir, Lashana Lynch, James Norton. Running time: 104 minutes. Theatrical release February 14, 2024. Updated February 12, 2024
Watch the trailer for Bob Marley: One Love
Bob Marley: One Love
Rating & Content Info
Why is Bob Marley: One Love rated PG-13? Bob Marley: One Love is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for marijuana use and smoking throughout, some violence and brief strong language
Violence: Characters are shot and some blood is seen, although everyone injured survives. An infected injury is briefly seen.
Sexual Content: There are brief references to adultery.
Profanity: The script contains a single sexual expletive and occasional uses of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Marijuana is used frequently. Adult characters are also seen smoking tobacco and drinking socially.
Page last updated February 12, 2024