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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
Positive 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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There is frank discussion of Bob Marley's sex life, and how he fathered 11 children by seven different women.
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Not much iffy language other than "ass."
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Drinking, Drugs & 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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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Marley is a comprehensive and ultimately moving documentary of the man who is still -- several decades after his death -- the face most associated with reggae music. What emerges from the interview footage with those who knew him best and the video footage of Bob Marley and the Wailers concerts is a man inspired to use his music as a way to spread peace throughout the world, and to raise awareness of the plight of the Third World.
News footage of Jamaica's independence in 1962, of Haile Selassie (considered to be a god to Rastafarians) arriving in Jamaica, and the civil unrest throughout Jamaica during the 1970s provides the context for Marley's concerns as expressed in his songs and his concerts. For those with only a familiarity with Bob Marley songs and a bare bones idea of Jamaican culture, you can expect to learn many things about the ups and downs in Marley's life as he became an international superstar before his life ended much too soon. Simply put: It is an informative and inspiring tribute to a beloved artist.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.