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'Get On Up' gets down on the good foot in biopic

James Brown biopic, 'Get On Up', opens nationwide
James Brown biopic, 'Get On Up', opens nationwide
digital photo by V.M. Oliver-Lawson

'Get On Up' movie


Chadwick Boseman (who also starred as Jackie Robinson in '42') delivers a very convincing character as he plays James Brown in 'Get On Up', the biopic which opened nationwide August 1, 2014. Boseman not only has the look, but also the movies from the fancy footwork to the splits of the late music icon. The movie centers around themes of family, business, abuse and love as it chronicles the life of the Godfather of Soul as he rises from poverty to superstardom. In addition, the movie offers validity as it includes a historical perspective and deals withevents and obstacles which were occurring at the time.

The plot does portray Brown as egotistical and demanding, but also gives viewers insight into why James was that way. The movie includes the very familiar and unique music of Brown and the audience is bound to sway and sing along as it becomes caught up in the characterization. Much of the story is told via flashbacks which include a young seven-year-old, a teenaged portrayal and the adult Brown.

The movie takes the audience on a rollercoaster of emotions as no aspect of James Brown's life is spared including being a dropout, his love for women, the death of his son and the business relationships throughout his career. The influence of the church is also emphasized as a young Brown is affected by what he sees and hears at the House of Prayer. There are elements of humor, domestic violence, jealousy and arrogance present against the backdrop of the music, which also causes a transformation in attitudes. Pearls of wisdom to Brown are shared by various characters throughout the movie: Aunt Honey, Little Richard, Bobby Byrd, Ben Bart and even Maceo Parker. There are several points of humor as the 'powerhouse of talent' looks straight into the eye of the lens and talks directly to the audience and often speaks of flipping things in his life.

The cast reads as a who's who among stars. In addition to Boseman, other cast members include: Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis (both of whom starred in 'The Help') as Aunt Honey and Susie Brown, Nelsan Ellis as Bobby Byrd, Dan Aykroyd as Ben Bart, Tika Sumpter as Yvonne Fair, Lennie James as Joe James, Jill Scott as Dee Dee Jenkins, Craig Robinson as Maceo Parker, Keith Robinson as Baby Roy, Ralph Tresvant as Sam Cooke, Julius Tennon as Grandpa Byrd, and Donald Watkins.

Moviegoer Priscilla Tilley-Nelson said she thought the movie was just great. She said it told the story of an extraordinary man. Another theatergoer, Stephanie Berry, said she never knew the background, but the biopic helped her to understand better the events that happened in Brown's life.

'Get On Up' is directed by Tate Taylor, who also directed 'The Help' and is produced by: Mick Jagger, Erica Huggins, Brian Grazer, and Victoria Pearman.

This movie will appeal to every and any one as it takes them back down memory lane and provides a glimpse into the life of a man whose music has inspired and will continue to inspire generations.

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