With an all-star cast and amazing performances, Get On Up takes you on an incredible ride to discover the raw and emotional journey James Brown took from extreme poverty to the top of the music world.
The film follows Brown (Chadwick Boseman – who should receive an Oscar for his breathtaking portrayal of James Brown by the way) as he deals with several trials in his life. Brown was born to impoverished parents who had a volatile relationship. James’ mother, Susie (Viola Davis), left him and his father, Joe (Lennie James). Later on, his father joins the military and leaves James with Aunt Honey (Octavia Spencer) who becomes a maternal figure.
At 17, James is arrested for stealing a man’s three-piece suit. Since he does not have a physical address, James could face at least five years in prison. James becomes acquainted with Bobby Byrd (Nelson Ellis) who is the lead singer of a Gospel group that performs at the prison. Bobby convinces his mother to take James in and the two become best friends.
James begins to perform with Byrd’s group, one thing leads to the next, and The Famous Flames is born. The group signs a record deal and quickly gains popularity. The James and record label executives finally realize after some time that James is destined to become a solo artist and inform the rest of the group of the decision to make James the front man. Tempers flare and the band walks out.
I could tell you a lot more but I do not want to spoil the whole movie. Let’s just say James Brown’s rise to the pinnacle of the music industry was anything but easy. Check out the trailer and definitely go see this film!
I Give It A: B+
Check Out The Trailer Here