These details are presented in a straightforward, scandal-free tone: Macdonald takes a journalistic view of these stories, which serves to re-humanize Marley after years in which he was exalted as a symbol, the fallen leader of a movement, and eventually as a kind of brand name. The final 20 minutes of “Marley” are a direct and painful description of his final months, when a melanoma on one of his toes metastasized. Marley passed out while jogging in Central Park after a New York City concert, and underwent experimental treatment in Germany.
He died on May 11, 1981, and was given a state funeral in Jamaica, and the footage of mourners at the close of the film signals the point where Bob Marley became a kind of reggae demigod. But “Marley” is far more exceptional for showing who this man was before he became the legend.
— George Lang
Starring: Bob Marley, Rita Marley, Cedella Marley, Cindy Breakspeare. (For drug content, thematic elements and some violent images)