“Get On Up” pays tribute to the Godfather of Soul by telling his life story through the lens of the his strong and passionate personality. There is never a moment in this film when you think “That isn’t actually James Brown.” The performance of Chadwick Boseman is extremely convincing and this role is a strong follow-up to Boseman’s breakout role in “42.” I appreciate his dancing but wish that he would have provided all of the singing. In casting the film, director Tate Taylor chose to fall back on two of the actresses from his Oscar nominated film “The Help.” I felt as if Octavia Spencer was underutilized but Viola Davis had a nice chance to shine. Perhaps the best part of the film is its excuse to play Brown’s greatest hits and recreation of some of his significant career highlights. The scene where Brown is questioned on the rhythmic disparity in “Cold Sweat” between the horns the drums is a simply awesome insight into his mind. While I enjoyed the acting and the music, I had a few issues with the script. There were times where it seemed logical to show the timeline out of order, and others where it did not. I could tell that the titles of the various “chapters” had some sort of meaning but I didn’t really get any of them. “Get On Up” is a valuable opportunity to learn about an important influence on modern music. The story leaves out some key events so it cannot be taken as fact, but it is certainly a start into understanding the life of James Brown.
[Pictured: Boseman or Brown? You won't be able to tell the difference]