Universal acclaim - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 26 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: Bob Marley's universal appeal, impact on music history and role as a social and political prophet is both unique and unparalleled. Marley is the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary, and legend, from his early days to his rise to international superstardom. Made with the support of the Marley family, the film features rare footage, incredible performances and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best. (Magnolia Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Apr 17, 2012
    The tunes, flooding every frame, remain perfect.
  2. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Apr 19, 2012
    What Marley and its wonderful performance footage leave you with most of all is the joy the man took in the music that set him free and enchanted the world.
  3. Reviewed by: Scott Bowles
    Apr 22, 2012
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Andrew Pulver
    Apr 15, 2012
    What results is an immensely detailed overview of Marley's life and times, from the hillside Jamaican shack where he grew up to the snowy Bavarian clinic where he spent his last weeks in a fruitless attempt to cure the cancer that killed him in 1981, aged 36.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Apr 19, 2012
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Brad Wheeler
    May 17, 2012
    Marley the film wonderfully explains its subject's music. As for Macdonald's message, I'm just not sure.
  7. Reviewed by: Glenn Heath Jr.
    Apr 19, 2012
    The bloat and heft of Marley's narrative scope leaves the viewer awash in a sea of historical "facts" with very little sense of the human experience behind the curtain of celebrity.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Apr 28, 2012
    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. Collapse
  2. May 14, 2012
    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! Expand
  3. Apr 30, 2012
    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. Expand
  4. Jun 22, 2012
    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
  5. Apr 20, 2012
    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
  6. chw
    Aug 21, 2014
    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. Expand