James Brown’s new movie, Get On Up, is now showing in theatres after being in the making for over ten years. Movie producer Brian Grazer, who first purchased the rights for the movie in 2001, originally planned the biopic film debut to honor Brown before his untimely death in 2006. However, the movie was even further delayed due to many legal issues regarding Brown’s estate after his passing.
James Brown was born on May 3, 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina. The movie shows some of Brown’s earliest days of childhood, where he experienced very traumatizing events beyond his control. In one scene, young Brown is torn apart from his mother, played by Viola Davis, and forced to live with his father, played by Lennie James. The scene is described in a very disturbing setting, where young Brown lived temporarily in extreme poverty before being sent to live in a brothel with his aunt Honey, who is played by Octavia Spencer.
Aside from the early childhood trauma, there are a few other childhood scenes where young Brown is depicted as a male figure to his aunt, who shows support for his aspiring musical talents. Later on as a teen, Brown had minor trouble with the law and he was arrested. While in jail, Brown first meets his close friend Bobby Byrd, who was a band member of the Famous Flames. Eventually, Byrd, who is played by Nelsan Ellis, convinces Brown to become the lead singer for the band. Once he is released from jail, Brown moves into Byrd’s family residence, where he first began to actually craft his musical talents.
Brown’s real life experiences are laid out in the movie as much as possible. Many people saw Brown as living a very private life. Although he had been a mega superstar for six decades, there have always been clouds of mystery behind his straight-laced persona and his abilities to keep up with the modern times musically.
Until his death, Brown managed to remain a musical icon and a mentor to many other stars over generations. He made tremendous impressions on stars like Michael Jackson and Prince, and he also managed to influence modern-day stars such as Usher and Chris Brown.
Since James Brown’s new movie, Get On Up, is now showing in theatres, fans from many generations will have an opportunity to see what Brown’s life was like and get up close, widescreen views of his musical genius and powerhouse moves that have withstood the test of time. Get on Up was directed by Tate Taylor, who managed to brilliantly visualize the details of a near perfect portrayal of the life and career of James Brown.
From his blues performances on the so-called “chitlin circuit” to more brassier performances among all-white crowds, the movie depiction of James Brown’s career certainly lives up to the legendary name of the world-renown superstar. Brown’s live performances are shown in the movie in thrilling fashion.
Some of the self-declared nicknames that Brown was known for are used as metaphors throughout the movie. The metaphors bring the viewer towards a fuller understanding of how the names came about as the movie recalls several platinum song performances and superior dance moves all originated by Brown.
The adult version of James Brown is played by Chadwick Boseman, who also starred in 42, which was the biopic of Jackie Robinson released in 2013. Boseman does a remarkable job in portraying the legendary singer and showman. Throughout the entire script, he imitates the guttural, rhythm-filled voice of Brown flawlessly, although the producers decided to keep all of Brown’s music tracks in his own voice.
James Brown’s new movie Get On Up is now showing in theatres. The biopic has a running time of 2 hours and 13 minutes. Get On Up has been Rated PG-13, but parents are strongly cautioned to supervise any viewings by young individuals. This is due to a few sensual scenes, a violent domestic eruption, and some drug use shown throughout the movie.
By Kimakra Nealy