“Get on Up”

August 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

Lots of loss, and a whole lot of soul.

“I paid the cost to be the boss.” ~ James Brown


The James Brown biopic starts off when a 55 year old James Brown reacts negatively to a tragic event that just took place in his life and storms into an insurance meeting. It is not until the end of the film that you piece the timeline of events together to understand why and how he behaved the way he did.

Next the film turns back to 1968 with James Brown and his entourage on a military plane flying through a war zone trying to make it to a concert for the troops. Although it is dangerous, James feels that it is not yet his time to go.

Flash back to 1939, when you see him as a young boy being raised in the woods in Augusta, GA. His father is abusive towards him and his mother and, eventually she leaves. The father goes off to war, leaving James alone in the center of town. He ventures into the community church where he looks up to the eccentric minister, who is twirling around, while preaching the gospel. It is obvious, this was one of his influences.

Skip ahead to 1949 where he steals a mans suit, and is about to be punished when a band member from a group called “The Starlighters” comes to his aide. James begins to sing with them.

From there you journey on his rise to fame, his wife and family, King Records signing him, the return of his mother, his relationship with his wife, his band, his good tried and true friend, Bobby Byrd, his manager, stage performances, the infamous concert at the Boston Garden, MLK’s death, back taxes, his desire to stay on top, and finally back to the first scene in Augusta, GA in 1988.

He died on Christmas Day 2006. He was 73.

The film flips back and forth over his lifespan more than any other film I’ve ever seen, however, it is understandable and entertaining.

4 out of 5 stars.

One World Cinema

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