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Marley Review

  • Release Date: Apr 20, 2012
  • Rated: drug content, thematic elements and some violent images
  • Runtime: 2 hr. 24 min.
  • Genres: Documentary
  • Director:Kevin Macdonald

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0
    82

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    The director, Kevin Macdonald, searches for clarity amid the contradictions of Marley's life and reaches no conclusions, but that's a tribute to his subject's complexity in a film of fascinating too-muchness.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Scott Bowles

    Sprinkled with riffs, concert footage and home videos, the family-authorized documentary does what the artist usually did: When in doubt, return to the beat.

    Read Full Review

  • 90

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    Marley is sure to become the definitive documentary on the much beloved king of reggae.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Marley was directed by the gifted Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland), who shows off his chops not by doing anything dazzling - the film is documentary prose, not poetry - but by treating Marley as a man of depth and nuance, of inner light and shadow.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Marley reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 13+

Comprehensive docu on iconic reggae musician.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Marley is an excellent and comprehensive documentary on the iconic reggae musician. Unsurprising to those familiar with Marley, reggae music, and the Rastafarian religion, there are frequent pictures and videos where Marley and his band The Wailers are smoking marijuana, and there is discussion about marijuana and its role in Marley's life and Jamaican culture. There is also frank discussion of Marley's numerous affairs; he had 11 children with seven different women while married. To provide necessary context, viewers see news footage of the sometimes violent civil unrest in Jamaica in the 1970s. However, none of this overshadows the central message of the film: Bob Marley was a deeply spiritual man dedicated to making others happy with his music, and to using his music as an instrument to promote peace, unity, and love. 

  • Families can talk about the power of art and music. What does this documentary say about music and its power to transcend cultures and politics? What role does art play in politics throughout history?
  • What challenges do you think the filmmakers faced in presenting Bob Marley's life and music, as well as Jamaican culture, religion, and politics?
  • What are the different cinematic tools the filmmakers use to tell Bob Marley's story? Which do you think are the most effective?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: This documentary shows the healing and transformative power of music. It demonstrates music bringing happiness to people throughout the world, and the ability of music to bring about unity in times of deep political divisions.

  • rolemodels true4

    Role models: At his core, Bob Marley was a deeply spiritual man who used his music as a vehicle in which to express an earnest desire for peace and love for all mankind. Not everyone will approve of some of his life choices, but his legacy as a musician is transcendent.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: The film features news footage of Jamaica's political unrest during the 1970s as a backdrop to Bob Marley's life and career. There are riot scenes, people on the streets of Kingston shooting guns, a man getting bitten and dragged in the leg by a police dog, and a dead body on the street.

  • sex false2

    Sex: There is frank discussion of Bob Marley's sex life, and how he fathered 11 children by seven different women.

  • language false2

    Language: Not much iffy language other than "ass."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Predictably enough to anyone familiar with Bob Marley, reggae music, and the Rastafarian religion, this documentary shows frequent marijuana use, and discussion of marijuana smoking and its relation to Rastafarians.

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