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‘Get On Up’ Review Roundup: A Powerful James Brown Biopic

Fri, August 1, 2014 5:43pm EDT by HL Intern 1 Comment
Get On Up Movie Review
Courtesy of Imagine Entertainment

Imagine Entertainment’s highly anticipated biopic ‘Get On Up’ — Tate Taylor’s newest movie, covering James Brown’s rise from extreme poverty to stardom — opens August 1. Does it live up to the hype? Find out below!

Get On Up, directed by The Help’s Tate Taylor and based on the life of James Brown, is centered on James Brown’s (Chadwick Boseman) rise to fame as a poor African American man with a lot of talent who manages to escape his seemingly immovable situation. Set mostly while Brown was on tour, the movie will have you dancing in your seat by the end of it! Read on to find out what critics are saying about Get On Up!

Get on Up Movie Reviews: Find out what Critics Are Saying


“Get On Up makes an admirable, fitfully successful stab at the life of the brilliant but volatile funk-soul legend who wore at least as many personalities and personas as he did nicknames and honorary titles.”

Chicago Tribune: 

And yet the actor, like the film, works in a stealthy way. Often Boseman is doing the splits and singing his guts out, re-creating scenes from the films The T.A.M.I. Show or Ski Party. (“Oh, hell no — I’m in a honky hoedown!” Brown mutters, hilariously, in the latter segment.) .”

Washington Post:

“Boseman flat-out nails the Godfather of Soul in this long-awaited biopic. He struts around with Brown’s signature blasé-rooster swagger, smiles with enough brilliance to make a blind man squint and glides across various stages as if the soles of his shoes were coated with slick glass. But perhaps the most crucial thing he gets right is Brown’s speaking voice; when Boseman talks, his words pour forth in a raspy stream, as if they’ve been run through a mesh strainer, then doused heavily with freshly ground black pepper.”

Huffington Post:

“But like The Help, Get On Up is also carried by a singular performance. In The Help it was Viola Davis (who also plays Brown’s mother) and in Get On Up it’s Boseman, putting the film’s most dynamic presence in all but a handful of scenes, repeatedly and insistently reminding you why Brown was indeed Soul Brother No. 1, the Godfather of Soul, and the Hardest Working Man In Show Business.”


“Playing Brown from the age of 16 to 60, Boseman carries and lifts Get On Up to its most impressive heights. He doesn’t sing the songs (the original recordings got a cogent remix from executive producer Mick Jagger) but he talks the raspy talk in inflections that become habitation. Boseman also mastered the on-stage strutting and dance moves that inspired Jagger, Michael Jackson and plenty others; he’s a wondrous dervish — fully possessed in both sense of the word. Even in repose, his Brown radiates drive, sex, menace and spirit. He’s the boss of Get On Up, not by Brownian manipulation but by audience acclamation.”

HollywoodLifers, will you catch Get On Up this weekend? Let us know!

— Cara Munn

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