Get On Up

Critics Consensus

With an unforgettable Chadwick Boseman in the starring role, Get On Up offers the Godfather of Soul a fittingly dynamic homage.



Total Count: 163


Audience Score

User Ratings: 25,281
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Movie Info

In his follow-up to the four-time Academy Award (R)-nominated blockbuster The Help, Tate Taylor directs 42's Chadwick Boseman as James Brown in Get on Up. Based on the incredible life story of the Godfather of Soul, the film will give a fearless look inside the music, moves and moods of Brown, taking audiences on the journey from his impoverished childhood to his evolution into one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. Boseman is joined in the drama by Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Nelsan Ellis, Lennie James, Tika Sumpter, Jill Scott and Dan Aykroyd.


Chadwick Boseman
as James Brown
Viola Davis
as Susie Brown
Octavia Spencer
as Aunt Honey
Nelsan Ellis
as Bobby Byrd
Lennie James
as Joe Brown
Tika Sumpter
as Yvonne Fair
Jill Scott
as DeeDee Brown
Dan Aykroyd
as Ben Bart
Fred Melamed
as Syd Nathan
Craig Robinson
as Maceo Parker
Josh Hopkins
as Ralph Bass
Brandon Smith (I)
as Little Richard
Aunjanue Ellis
as Vicki Anderson
Tariq Trotter
as Pee Wee Ellis
Aloe Blacc
as Nafloyd Scott
Nick Eversman
as Mick Jagger
J.D. Evermore
as Seminar Presenter
Carol Lee
as Mavis
Cleta Ellington
as Shirley Buell
Jim Gleason
as Insurance Salesman
Ahna O'Reilly
as Reporter
Antonius Charles
as Black Infantryman
Donald Watkins
as Black Infantryman
Hunter Burke
as Soldier
James DuMont
as Corporal Dooley
Jamarion Scott
as Little James Brown
Jordan Scott
as Little James Brown
Stacey Scowley
as Penelope White
Rena DeAngelo
as Reno Reporter
Liz Mikel
as Gertrude Sanders
Aakomon "AJ" Jones
as Bobby Bennett
Aaron Jay Rome
as Frankie Avalon
Atkins Estimond
as Big Junior
Clyde Jones
as Daddy Grace
Matt Thompson
as 1949 Cop
Denzel Reed
as Big Kid
Julius Tennon
as Grandpa Byrd
Taura Cherne
as Sarah Byrd
Kirk Bovill
as Announcer
Cariella Smith
as Diner Waitress
Sandra Denise
as Female in Audience
Sheldon Frett
as Susie's Soldier
Mario J. Radford
as JB Chauffeur
Joe Blankenship
as Alan Leeds
Alvin Edney II
as Teddy Brown
Adrien Scott Robinson
as Little Christmas Boy
Elliott June Rogers
as Little Christmas Girl
Jamell Richardson
as Jimmy Nolen
Jason A. Davis
as Mayor White
Billy Slaughter
as Pool Cleaner
Marc Innis
as Dancer
Bri Kraft
as Dancer
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News & Interviews for Get On Up

Critic Reviews for Get On Up

All Critics (163) | Top Critics (49) | Fresh (129) | Rotten (34)

  • Director Tate Taylor's electrifying, energised portrait of James Brown rapidly takes a left turn away from formula via the musician's colourful brush with rock bottom.

    Nov 21, 2014 | Rating: 4/5

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • There's more drama in one track from Live at the Apollo than 139 long minutes of this.

    Nov 21, 2014 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • The music gives you some big, sugar-rush moments, but it's a disappointing response to one of pop culture's most brilliant and complicated figures.

    Nov 20, 2014 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Chadwick Boseman gives a startling and galvanic performance.

    Sep 5, 2014 | Full Review…

    David Denby

    New Yorker
    Top Critic
  • In Boseman's hands - and his feet, and his entire body, for that matter - he demands and earns our attention.

    Aug 6, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Somewhat sanitized and over-directed biopic saved by Boseman's electric performance.

    Aug 1, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Get On Up

  • Jun 21, 2016
    Get On Up is a biopic starring Chadwick Boseman as James Brown, an entertainer known as the "Godfather of Soul." The movie tells the story of James' rise to fame, his relationships, and his ego complicating things within his music groups. As most of you already know, I'm a sucker for a good movie revolving around music or musical figures, and Get On Up does not disappoint in its tunes. Boseman is phenomenal as James Brown; everything about his performance, on stage and off, resonates with the signature energy Brown was known for. The ensemble cast, including Viola Davis, Lennie James, Octavia Spencer, and Nelsan Ellis, adequately fills the shoes of the people in Brown's life. The one thing about this particular biopic that didn't work well for me was the directing. I understand that it's difficult to create a biopic with an overall story without making it seem like a bunch of random events piled together, but Tate Taylor makes an interesting choice early on in the movie; he delivers scenes not in sequential order for about the first half of the movie before abandoning the approach for a linear finish. This isn't necessarily a terrible thing, but it just seemed like the movie could have benefited from being entirely linear instead of part linear/part random. Overall, however, the movie is highly enjoyable (if not a bit long) with an iconic performance from Boseman. If you like James Brown or biopics, give it a watch.
    Ben B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 23, 2015
    Though it needs some more judicious editing, the film does capture the intensity and energy of the man.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 19, 2014
    Boseman is closer to a caricature of James Brown than of the real man in this infuriatingly disjointed mess full of jumps in time that follow no cohesion or logic, and it doesn't offer any insight whatsoever into who the man was or what made him a "genius" besides being a complete douche bag.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 25, 2014
    Joshua S Super Reviewer

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