User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 26 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 26
  2. Negative: 1 out of 26

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  1. Apr 20, 2012
    7
    While the journey of getting "Marley" to theaters was complex, (copious disputes over director/producers) it's documentation of the titular figure, to the audiences' dismay, is not nearly as intricate; his life, as delineated on-screen, although captured musically through some hit-nostalgic riffs, feels unfulfilled compared to his off-screen life that saw moments of controversy--one most notably leading to the untimely end of his young life. Although such musical symbolism is effective in attemping to resurrect his name and rememberance, the film simply doesn't find a way to make him "feel" real. Instead, "Marley" is laden with incessant interviews, often back-to-back-to-back, a handful conflicting with each other, without director Kevin Macdonald making the least amount of effort to clear up the equivocation. Also seldom, are archival interviews with Bob Marley, himself. One would think the filmmakers would make it a priority to document the "man" and keep "others" documenting him to a limit. There are plenty of pictures snapped of him, and a couple clips, too, but the film primarily contains anecdotes told through the eyes of those who knew him best, most notably his children. However, the lasting image that is painted by the filmmakers in "Marley" is one that bears the scars of elongated delays in production, combating takes on creativity, and the overlying blatency of the indecent indignity that is held over it all, the film being hand-me-downed to the second highest bidder. Even more insulting, is the "4/20"--unoffically National Marijuana Day--release date that reverts back to the long-held self-concept of Marley as a ganja-smoking, marijuana mascot for all to lampoon at; it's a proscribing shame of a legacy. Not only is it a cheap gimmick from producers to get the stoner's to theaters, but more importantly, it unworthily labels a man who stood for much more than toking up and listening to reggae music; the film will be shown to millions who know little of Marley, and it is them, that need to know the "true him" most of all. Sadly to say, the film does him little justice, excluding much more than is satisfactory. Ultimately, it's still highly entertaining--leaving you with "what might have been...if...--even despite its 144 minute duration, which by its end, will supply one with a warm feeling to "jam." Expand
  2. Apr 30, 2012
    8
    An excellent documentary not only for fans of the music, but for anyone with a remote interest in Bob Marley. We learn about Bob's upbringing, how he becomes a musical god and how his music touches people, both politically and commercially.
  3. Jun 22, 2012
    8
    Marley is a truly memorable documentary, and a glorious and fitting tribute not only to one of the biggest icons of reggae music but to a remarkable and fascinating man. From the very first jaw-droppingly beautiful aerial shot of Jamaica, Kevin MacDonald captivates you with his undeniable gift for documentary storytelling that really speaks to your heart. Rather than the usual dull "expert" talking heads, we watch interviews only from those who knew the subject best - his family, friends, band-mates and colourful neighbours. Bob Marley's life story is told in great depth and with incredible insight, and even the most ardent fan should come away better informed than before. I, for instance, never realised how central and domineering the Rastafarian religion was to Marley's life, nor how involved he became with political strife in South Africa and Zimbabwe. While some may accuse MacDonald of presenting an overly glamorous, rose-tinted view of Marley (he is clearly a fan), the way in which the documentary shows one of Marley's daughters talking about her father with such disdain and anger more than adequately covers his less-than-admirable personality traits. My only major criticism of the film is its running time, which is merciless. Consistently engaging though this documentary is, only the most dedicated viewer will get through the 2 hours 25 minutes unscathed. There's easily enough material here to split the story into two films, and then perhaps cover the darker elements of Marley's life in more detail. Over-long though it is, Marley remains a rewarding journey through an incredible life and wonderful music. The soundtrack, made up of Bob Marley's biggest hits in addition to some lesser-known early songs elevates the story even further, and not only allows you to re-appreciate his staggering talent, but in turn MacDonald's presentation of Marley's story allows you to glean the true meaning behind much of his songwriting. Everyone should be able to get something out of this tale of sunshine, passion and soul, but for a real fan of Bob Marley, this is essential viewing. Expand
  4. Apr 28, 2012
    10
    The best Bob Marley doc to be made as of yet. I would recommend to any Bob or just hardcore music fans. The music and interviews are intertwined perfectly to present a comprehensive portrait of Bob.
  5. May 14, 2012
    9
    Oh, I though that this was the review of the singer, LOL!! Still, I watched this documentary. It is the best documentary of Bob Marley. Keep doing awesome documentary, Mangolia Pictures!
  6. chw
    Aug 21, 2014
    4
    They made a **** movie out of a legend's life... This movie was so incredibly boring to me, all 2 hours 20 minutes of it. I tried watching it again to try make sense out of it again, but no, another 2 hours 20 minutes wasted, and I don't know how to use that amount for the quote "I want my __________ minutes back." That's Gone with the Wind and an episode of 24.
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Brad Wheeler
    May 17, 2012
    75
    Marley the film wonderfully explains its subject's music. As for Macdonald's message, I'm just not sure.
  2. Reviewed by: Scott Bowles
    Apr 22, 2012
    88
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Apr 20, 2012
    50
    There is no diverting from strict chronology, no point the documentary wants to make that requires moving forward and back through time. It just inches ahead, one year to another, sometimes one day to another. By the middle, each time a year changes, it's a relief.