This Friday the first ever definitive documentary film about the life of Bob Marley opens in the US. We were lucky enough to catch a pre-release screening of the film and were thoroughly moved by his story.
Of course we knew that Marley was a Rastafarian, the most legendary reggae singer ever but we didn’t know any of the details of his life. Through interviews with his family and close friends, the movie tells his life story to its very premature end. He died at 36 of cancer, an illness that many believed could have been prevented through early diagnosis and regular check ups.
Parts of his story made us feel sad, his tough childhood, his difficult relationship with his own children and of course his tragic early demise. The story traces the history of reggae music, and the struggle and many years of hard work Marley put in to become the legend we all know.
We loved how the movie showed what a disciplined man he was, far from the image of a Rastafarian stoner that is often thrown his way. Despite smoking huge amounts of marijuana, he would then go “Lively Up Himself” which involved long intense runs along the beach and drawn out competitive soccer matches.
He was a famous womanizer with 11 children to various different beauties. The most surprising to us was his long term relationship with Miss World 1976, Cindy Breakspeare, the mother of one of his children Damian Marley. Marley wrote the song “Turn Your Lights Down Low” about his relationship with her. She tells a funny story about how make up was against all of Marley’s Rastafarian beliefs. They were living in London and she would usually remove any trace of make up before seeing him but once got home before him and was about to clean the make up off when he caught her and laughed “got cha man” he said.
The movie reveals the story behind many of his famous anthems which more often than not had much deeper political or emotional meaning than we ever realized. He spent a great deal of his life trying to live with honor and facilitate change in both his own country of Jamaica as well as war-torn Africa.
Even if you’re not a Bob Marley fan, this a beautiful story of an extraordinary man’s struggle to become the person he wanted to be.
Marley The Movie. In Theatres and on Demand 4.20.2012