6.9/10
19,176
113 user 166 critic

Get on Up (2014)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 1 August 2014 (USA)
Trailer
2:39 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Prime Video

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

Director:

Tate Taylor

Writers:

Jez Butterworth (screenplay), John-Henry Butterworth (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
6 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

Lucy has always used food to escape life's problems, but when this self-titled "fat friend" lures her group of old college buddies to the Montana wilderness, she reveals a new self - skinny, beautiful and still flawed.

Director: Tate Taylor
Stars: Missi Pyle, Melissa McCarthy, Larry Sullivan
42 (2013)
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In 1947, Jackie Robinson becomes the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era when he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers and faces considerable racism in the process.

Director: Brian Helgeland
Stars: Chadwick Boseman, T.R. Knight, Harrison Ford
Ray I (2004)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s.

Director: Taylor Hackford
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Regina King, Kerry Washington
Marshall (2017)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The story of Thurgood Marshall, the crusading lawyer who would become the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, as he battles through one of his career-defining cases.

Director: Reginald Hudlin
Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson
Chicken Party (2003)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A comedic look at crime, love, tolerance and fried chicken.

Director: Tate Taylor
Stars: Octavia Spencer, Allison Janney, Tate Taylor
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A drama based on Jimi Hendrix's life as he left New York City for London, where his career took off.

Director: John Ridley
Stars: André Benjamin, Hayley Atwell, Imogen Poots
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A mysterious outsider from South Africa, named Jacob King, arrives in Los Angeles to look for his missing younger sister.

Director: Fabrice du Welz
Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Luke Evans, Alfred Molina
The Kill Hole (2012)
Action | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

The shadow of war follows a troubled Iraq War vet as he is forced to pursue one of his own into the Pacific Northwest wilderness to finally confront a war crime that has haunted them both.

Director: Mischa Webley
Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Tory Kittles, Billy Zane
Draft Day I (2014)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

At the NFL Draft, General Manager Sonny Weaver has the opportunity to rebuild his team when he trades for the number one pick. He must decide what he's willing to sacrifice on a life-changing day for a few hundred young men with NFL dreams.

Director: Ivan Reitman
Stars: Kevin Costner, Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Garner
Miles Ahead (2015)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An exploration of the life and music of Miles Davis.

Director: Don Cheadle
Stars: Don Cheadle, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Ewan McGregor
Love & Mercy (2014)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In the 1960s, Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson struggles with emerging psychosis as he attempts to craft his avant-garde pop masterpiece. In the 1980s, he is a broken, confused man under the 24-hour watch of shady therapist Dr. Eugene Landy.

Director: Bill Pohlad
Stars: John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks
Drama

Plot unknown.

Director: Tate Taylor
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Chadwick Boseman ... James Brown
Nelsan Ellis ... Bobby Byrd
Dan Aykroyd ... Ben Bart
Viola Davis ... Susie Brown
Lennie James ... Joe Brown
Fred Melamed ... Syd Nathan
Craig Robinson ... Maceo Parker
Jill Scott ... DeeDee Brown
Octavia Spencer ... Aunt Honey
Josh Hopkins ... Ralph Bass
Brandon Mychal Smith ... Little Richard (as Brandon Smith)
Tika Sumpter ... Yvonne Fair
Aunjanue Ellis ... Vicki Anderson
Tariq Trotter ... Pee Wee Ellis
Aloe Blacc ... Nafloyd Scott
Edit

Storyline

On route to the stage, singer James Brown recalls a life with a turbulent childhood where music was his only constructive release for his passions. A chance demonstration of that in prison led to a new friend who helped get him out and into a musical career. With his fire and creative daring, Brown became a star who defiantly created new possibilities in show business both on and behind the stage in face of racism and conventional thinking. Along the way, James would also become a peacemaker who redefined and raised the African-American community's feeling of self-worth when it was needed most. However, those same domineering passions would lead James Brown alienating everyone around him as his appetites became ever more self-destructive. Only after he hit rock bottom with a serious mistake does Brown realize what he needs to do make his life as the Godfather of Soul truly worthwhile. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Funk don't Quit

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug use, some strong language, and violent situations | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 August 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Get on Up: Príbeh Jamese Browna See more »

Filming Locations:

Natchez, Mississippi, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,585,915, 3 August 2014

Gross USA:

$30,513,940
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Datasat | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Just before James hits the stage on the T.A.M.I. show, there's a shot of two of the hosts, one dressed as a fire fighter, ready to introduce James and the Flames. It's actually footage from the 1964 broadcast of the T.A.M.I. show. The 2 people are Jan and Dean (Dead Man's Curve). See more »

Goofs

In the Vietnam scene, a title card says 1968 while the song "The Payback" plays. "The Payback" was released in December 1973. See more »

Quotes

Little Richard: I play a show in Lafayette last week twenty thirty girls pass clean out. Need oxygen. I'm killing 'em James. They should lock me away. I cut loose it's like a spaceship land. Did I say I got a record out? They drop it five times a day on WIBB. Five times a day. And I'm flippin' burgers. You know why? Cause WIBB antenna reach 60 mile. 60 mile. This country is 5000 miles top to toe and 7000 coast to coast. You catch the wind, get a hit, a real hit, every inch of that is yours.
See more »


Soundtracks

Night Train (Live at the Apollo)
Written by Jimmy Forrest, Lewis Simpkins, Oscar Washington
Performed by James Brown
Courtesy of Republic Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Toe Tapping Music and Drama
2 August 2014 | by rgkarimSee all my reviews

James Brown, a musical legend whose funk and soul spread from city to city over decades. With movies looking for anything to make a story about, these days, it was only a matter of time before the Godfather of Soul was chosen. Yet despite his musical influence, could the directors make a film that would do justice to him, or like other tributes fall short and are nothing more than a bore. Going in for my third movie this weekend, I'm here to share my thoughts about Get On Up, titled after one of my favorite songs.

After seeing Four Seasons, I worried that this movie would be another drawn out drama with only tidbits of music here and there. Yet the directing team decided to actually bring the music to the front and give the audience the music they knew and loved. Get On Up plays a plethora of songs from toe tapping Get On Up to the soulful Please, each timed in the story to mimic the emotions at hand. While some of the songs are only segments, the movie gives you enough of a show to satisfy the funk within you. The numbers are well designed, with Chadwick Boseman bringing some impressively choreographed moves, including the famous split that will have guys cringing. One feels like they are in a constant, at home with the crowd as the cameras circle around the bandstand. What's also nice is that the songs are spread throughout the movie, and one doesn't have to wait to long before another song is blasting through the speakers. However, this also leads to a little problem, as so many songs leads to a messy story that is fractured, sporadic, and sometimes confusing to follow.

This leads me to the next part, the story. Like many movies about musical icons the story is predictable mess, again showing traumatic backstories and showing their rise to fame. However, Get On Up diverges from the typical linear presentation and decides to jump around Brown's life. In the beginning, it is confusing to follow, because the order doesn't make sense, nor is it easy to find the relevancy at the time. As the movie continues, you get an idea of what the director is trying to do, using the scenes as an illustration of his thoughts at the time, the primal drive to his actions. It's cool, but again confusing as you try to pick up what is going on at the times. Some of the flashbacks are also awkwardly timed and sometimes seem to are left untied as the movie continues. At times I asked, "What was the point of that scene?" only to get an answer an hour down the line. It's diverse yes, but the approach needs to be ironed out a little more for this reviewer to get the most out of it. Unfortunately, this movie's plot is still similar to all band stories, in the fact that there is an inevitable rise and fall that we will see them go through.

Despite the order of the scenes though, Get On Up has some impressive production behind the movie. As I already mentioned, the music scenes are the most entertaining of the bunch, but the drama surrounding it is well designed. Plenty of my fellow audience members commented on how well they captured the decade, designing the various cast in the costumes of the era. Backstage hassles, luxurious hotels, and studios were all crafted into smoke filled wonders, and you feel drawn in to Brown's life. What was also nice to see was the lack of using a grey filter, a very popular filter at the moment, to make the already dismal world even more depressing. Instead, the world is colorful and vibrant, much like the music.

Finally the acting. Boseman steals the show, managing to bring a lot of energy and fun into the enigmatic Brown. His raspy voice sounds much like the voice in the singing, though it is not an exact match, I think he did nice on the vocals and delivery. He is funny, and seems to be a natural at playing the self-involved performer, because he didn't seem to try too hard. Boseman captures the emotional spectrum of Brown brilliantly in this movie and next to the music, is the biggest highlight of the film. To counter the selfishness of Brown is his friend Bobby Byrd played by Nelsan Ellis who also does a great job. Although his character takes a backseat through most of the film, and only speaks at key points, Ellis does a lot with his limited lines. And just like Boseman, Ellis can bust a move, though his pipes are drowned out in the numbers. As for the rest of the cast, the iconic Dan Aykroyd plays the same arrogant business man he always does, though with a bit of a softer side when it comes to James. Viola Davis brings the same passion to her role, though like Ellis is limited to the amount of time on screen. Octavia Spencer brings her sass back to scene and has some guiding insight, but does take a back seat to Boseman as well.

Overall Get On Up is a visit to the past of powerful music. Fans will travel back in time with Brown's hits, and the beat will have you tapping your toes. Yet the predictable drama, the dark and depressing mood, and the unique presentation had me feeling the movie lasted a little too long, especially at the slow parts. Recommended audience members are big James Brown fans, or those looking to take older audience members to a movie. Otherwise, skip this film and wait for it to come to your home entertainment set up. My scores for this flick are:

Biography/Drama/Music: 7.5 Movie Overall: 6


16 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 113 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed