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Get on Up

Drama . Music . Biography

A chronicle of James Brown's rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history.

Actors: Chadwick Boseman , Nelsan Ellis , Dan Aykroyd , Viola Davis , Lennie James , Fred Melamed , Jill Scott , Octavia Spencer , Nick Eversman , Tika Sumpter
Directors: Tate Taylor
Country: USA , UK
Release: 2014-08-01
More Info:
  • Richard Corliss

    In 2007, Jamie Foxx won Best Actor for his subtle performance as Ray Charles. Boseman exceeds that solid standard. Incarnating James Brown in all his ornery uniqueness, he deserves a Pulitzer, a Nobel and instant election to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    Time Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    The most important thing, though, is that we come away feeling we know him. He died on Christmas Day eight years ago, and people listening to samples of his music in rap and hip-hop may have no idea why he mattered. Now they’ll see.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • David Denby

    This movie will never need reviving. Brown’s innovative rhythms will always make his music sound contemporary.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Stephen Holden

    Like its gyrating, spasmodic staccato beats, Get On Up refuses to stand still. It whirls and does splits and jumps, with leaps around in time and changes in tempo that are jarring and abrupt and that usually feel just right.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    Get On Up isn't a perfect-picture; there are moments of awkwardness, little gambles that don't quite pay off. But it's one of those experiments that's both flawed and amazing, a mainstream movie (with Mick Jagger as one of its producers) that fulfills old-fashioned, entertainment-value requirements, even as it throws off flashes of insight.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    Get on Up hits all these high points. But the Butterworths fracture the order, fruitfully. They're more interested in making musical and dramatic connections across time and space — something in the '70s triggering a childhood memory, for example — than in laying them out predictably.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    One funk-tastic musical biopic.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    Artistically, Get on Up rivals “Walk the Line,” with a lead performance on a par with the career-making turns of Angela Bassett (“What’s Love Got to Do With It?”) and Jamie Foxx (“Ray”). With this wonder of the summer, Boseman and Taylor deliver a piece of American cultural history every bit as important as the Jackie Robinson story, a story told with heart, humor, funk and soul.

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Alonso Duralde

    Get on Up belongs, as it must, to Boseman, who delivers the kind of charisma, showmanship, sex appeal, and tireless energy that allows us to believe him as the Hardest Working Man in Show Business.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Dan Jolin

    Energising, stylish and engrossing, although its scattershot chronology and egocentric approach might not be to everyone;s taste. Still, Boseman is brilliant - it would be madness if he isn't among the Oscar runners this season.

    Empire Full Review
  • Bilge Ebiri

    Tate Taylor’s film cares less about narrative clarity and more about portraying a life lived between the extremes of sin and grace, between the abject and the sublime. It’s lively, stylized, and genuinely surprising.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    All the more remarkably, then, this flawed but startling biopic stars another performer, Chadwick Boseman, who fills Brown's shoes with a dynamism that transcends imitation.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    While Brown’s complicated trajectory as a cultural and political figure gets short shrift in Get on Up, his music does not – the sequence depicting his legendary “Fever in the Funkhouse” show in Paris in 1971 is an absolute knockout, worth the price of admission all by itself. Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    So much of Get on Up is uncannily perfect, from its nightmarish Georgia childhood flashbacks to delirious concert re-creations and the casting of Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd as Brown’s longtime manager.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    Like Brown, the movie is dynamic and entertaining as hell.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Brad Wheeler

    Where the film fails is in its fizzled, melodramatic ending. The problem is that Brown the man had no resolution – no third act.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    The musical numbers, with Brown's remixed vocals and Boseman re-creating his signature dance moves, are mesmerizing.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Kevin C. Johnson

    Cameos from actors portraying Little Richard, Mick Jagger, Frankie Avalon and Alan Leeds add up to some fun.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    A triumph — a messy, qualified triumph that even at 138 minutes makes an incomplete case for Brown’s meaning to American life and culture, but a triumph nevertheless.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    When Boseman shows us Brown doing his thing onstage, the movie comes alive.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Jen Chaney

    One could describe Boseman’s performance in Get on Up as electrifying, and that would not be wrong. But it’s more accurate to say that watching Boseman transform into James Brown, who died in 2006 at 73, is like watching a dude invent electricity while the idea for electricity is still occurring to him.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    It’s the powerful, raw, energized performance by Chadwick Boseman that makes this film worth seeing.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    Taylor's movie is overly episodic, but a number of those episodes are marvelous.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Kimber Myers

    It’s a crowd pleaser of a film, whose powerful musical moments can overshadow any smaller issues within the film.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    Get On Up... has some problems in the storytelling department, but Boseman tackles with gusto the unenviable task of capturing Brown.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Sheri Linden

    In Chadwick Boseman, it has a galvanic core, a performance that transcends impersonation and reverberates long after the screen goes dark.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Scott Foundas

    Boseman is an empathic presence, and nothing he does smacks of mimicry. He feels Brown from the inside out, the way Brown felt his own distinctive rhythms, and even when the movie itself seems to be on autopilot, Boseman never leaves the captain’s chair.

    Variety Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    Though Get On Up never congeals into a satisfactory whole, its fragmentary portrait of the singer at the height of his fame — intercut with his troubled single-parent childhood — effectively shows his invasive power in popular culture.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Chris Nashawaty

    Get On Up too often plays it safe when it needs to be dangerous.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Dan DeLuca

    As superb as Boseman is - moving with athletic grace, doing splits with hair curled in a sky-high pompadour, approximating Brown's rapid-fire, guttural speaking voice without descending to Eddie Murphy SNL parody - he's never quite good enough to convince you you're watching the Hardest Working Man in Show Business up on screen.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    If you're a fan of James Brown's oeuvre, the film will keep you interested. If you're not, Get on Up will quickly become tedious and will wear out its welcome long before the end of its 133-minute run.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Connie Ogle

    The concert scenes in this biographical picture are some of its best moments — you’ll wonder just how long the actor had to practice to perfect all those splits — and Boseman’s charisma is irresistible.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Andrew Lowry

    Handsomely mounted and energetically played, this movie captures much of the real genius of James Brown... then obscures it with needless chronological fiddling.

    Total Film Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    Few of the film's secondary characters feel fully developed, with the possible exception of Nelsan Ellis' portrayal of Brown sidekick Bobby Byrd.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Keith Phipps

    The energy never flags, the film conveys a deep love of Brown’s music (which fills almost every scene), and Boseman remains magnetic whether onstage or in quiet moments.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    There is no law requiring a biopic to make “nice” with its subject, but Get On Up, which presents Brown almost entirely unflatteringly except as a performer, makes you wonder why the filmmakers (including Mick Jagger, one of its producers) took the trouble.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Kate Erbland

    Taylor’s film so egregiously picks and chooses from Brown’s life that the result is a holey and unsatisfying document that fails to give due respect to much of the singer’s life (especially the more unsavory stuff). Full Review
  • Odie Henderson

    Truth be told, Get on Up isn’t really interested in exploring how important Brown’s music was to any of the numerous styles it influenced. Instead, it just wants to play some of the big hits you love while ticking off a checklist of standard biopic milestones. Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    This is all good movie material, so far as it goes ... but Get on Up can't go any further. Sometimes damaged people stay damaged, and sometimes popular artists make their contribution and then stay in one place forever. It's a big letdown for everybody, but in a biopic, it's poison.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    Despite the linked advantages of generous helpings of the man's high octane music and a star performance by Chadwick Boseman that's little short of heroic, Get on Up is more frustrating than fulfilling, a disjointed film that suffers from having a more ambitious plan than it's got the ability to execute.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Stephen Whitty

    Get On Up never finds its rhythm. Blame most of that on director Tate Taylor.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • William Goss

    For better and worse, the story unfolds as the late Brown himself might have related it, scattered across time, told with more impulse than clarity.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Eric Henderson

    As if taking a cue from its own title, the movie emphatically sets its sights on the upward trajectory of Brown's career.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

    Get On Up is the Hollywood biopic at its near-worst — a formless, extravagant assortment of historical incidents and lip-synched musical numbers, which ultimately amount to little more than a 138-minute showcase reel for Chadwick Boseman’s technically impressive and utterly opaque James Brown impression.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
Add Soundtrack
  • 1. Get Up Offa That ThingRelease the Pressure Performer: James Brown & The J.B.'s Stream Music Online
  • 36. I Cant Stand Myself (When You Touch Me) (Live in Paris) Performer: James Brown Stream Music Online
  • 39. Get Up (I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine) (Live in Paris) Performer: James Brown Stream Music Online
  • 44. Get Up Offa That Thing/Release the Pressure Performer: James Brown & The J.B.'s Stream Music Online
  • 45. I Got You (I Feel Good) (Live at Latin Casino) Performer: Written and James Brown Stream Music Online
  • 49. I Can't Stand Myself (When You Touch Me) (Live in Dallas) Performer: Written and James Brown Stream Music Online

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  • biography

  • james brown

  • african american

  • in medias res

  • box office flop

  • breaking the fourth wall

  • 1970s

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  • gospel music

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  • performer

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  • soul music