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August 25, 2012

Movie Review: Marley (2012)

The thing I love most about documentaries is that they are always a source of education. Whether you know nothing or think you know everything about a subject, there's something to be learned. Though I'm not well versed in reggae, I, like most people, know a few songs by Bob Marley and The Wailers. We can all sing along when one comes on the radio or pops up in a commercial. We see the t-shirts and posters all over the place. The funny thing is that many of us don't really know much about him. To be honest, I always thought he died from a gunshot. I had much to learn, and in two and a half hours, I learned plenty and enjoyed it all.

Marley was a biracial kid in a tiny little shanty town in Jamaica. He really didn't know his father, who was a white man from the UK. Apparently, the Marley seed was spread all over the place on that island, and Bob just happened to be the result of a quick little affair. Bob took to music, and it didn't take long for him to get involved with a band. We learn his musical evolution, as well as the origin of the name of The Wailers. We see his transition into the Rastafarian religion. that's another thing I knew very little about. I didn't even know it was a religion before this movie.

Marley lived a short but interesting life. He really didn't need to die at the age of thirty-six, which made me shudder, since that's my age. An untreated melanoma was his ultimate demise. Marley loved soccer, music, women and most of all music. The documentary is littered with interviews from his wife, girlfriends that he had while married (and his wife knew about), his kids, bandmates, relatives, friends, neighbors and just about anybody the filmmakers could find to interview. It's a fantastic story about a fascinating guy.

While I can take or leave the music, it's nice to understand where it comes from. Next time I hear a Bob Marley song, I'll pay more attention to what it's really saying. It might just change my mind about a few things. Go see Marley. It's a great doc.

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