Bob Marley movie gets a Meghan Markle-Prince Harry boost

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Juliet Holness and Olivia Grange at the premiere Bob Marley: One Love
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Juliet Holness and Olivia Grange at the premiere Bob Marley: One Love
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Studios don’t release their best stuff at the beginning of the year. This is a well-known, long-standing truth. There may be breakout exceptions, but given January and February’s reputation as “dump months,” any film released in that period is a sign that the powers that be don’t have much confidence in its potential. All this to say, it’s not looking good for Bob Marley: One Love, which releases on February 14. But before calling time of death, it appears Paramount wanted to give the movie one last jolt of energy by holding a star-studded premiere in Jamaica and inviting… Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, for some reason?

The reason given to People, at least, is that Paramount Pictures president and CEO Brian Robbins invited them, and the ex-royal couple has “a personal friendship” with the Robbins family. It’s an easy bit of promo for Paramount, because anywhere Harry and Meghan go, so too will The Daily Mail’s body language expert to analyze their every move. And for Harry and Meghan, beyond the selfless joy of supporting a friend, they keep their toe in the waters of the entertainment industry, which is where they have historically wanted to be since leaving the royal life behind.

Nevertheless, the Bob Marley movie is an odd place to trade in on the couple’s cultural cachet. Not just because One Love is a random February release, but also because there’s a pretty thorny history of colonialism between the United Kingdom and Jamaica. In fact, the country is scheduled to hold a referendum this year about exiting the commonwealth (via The New York Times), and Prime Minister Andrew Holness has outright expressed a desire to bring Jamaica out of England’s shadow. So, there’s a somewhat political aspect to Harry and Markle posing for pictures with Holness on the movie’s red carpet (but perhaps people who cut ties with the monarchy tend to stick together).

As for the actual movie, it had all the hallmarks of a classic Oscar-bait music biopic, particularly its buzzy leads Kingsley Ben-Adir and Lashana Lynch. Unfortunately, the movie simply doesn’t look very good. Or maybe it’s just that Ben-Adir’s wig is so egregious that it consigned the entire film to the cinematic graveyard. Whatever the case, Harry and Meghan’s presence at the premiere is unlikely to do more than give the film a mild press bump, so this may be the last you ever hear of One Love.