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.



Reviews Counted: 161

liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 25,272


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.7/5

You may have noticed some of the recent changes we have made. To read more about what we’ve been working on behind the scenes, please check out our new RT Product Blog here.

Want to See

Add Rating
My Rating    

Get On Up Videos

Get On Up Photos

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.

Watch it now


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
View All

News & Interviews for Get On Up

Critic Reviews for Get On Up

All Critics (161) | Top Critics (46)

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…
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…

Though "Get On Up" never congeals into a satisfactory whole, its fragmentary portrait of the singer at the height of his fame - intercut with his troubled single-parent childhood - effectively shows his invasive power in popular culture.

Aug 1, 2014 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
Top Critic

More often, the film skates along the surface of Brown's contradictory character. Now if it skated like Brown's dance moves glided onstage, that really would have been something.

Aug 1, 2014

Audience Reviews for Get On Up

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 Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Chadwick Boseman is impressive as James Brown. He fully embodies the man in vocal inflections, attitude and behavior. Boseman gets James' signature raspy voice spot on, extending beyond mere mimicry. And when James sings! The musical performances are the best part. All of his hits are here including "Get Up Offa That Thing", "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag, Pt. 1?, and "I Got You (I Feel Good)". The presentation relies on lip synching to actual James Brown tracks and personally I'm glad that decision was made. The singer's idiosyncratic musical style would have been extremely difficult to duplicate. Chadwick Boseman gets the electricity of James' delivery down pat, complete with the dancing, the splits and the sheer athleticism. People in my theater actually got up and danced. I've never seen that happen. Get on Up isn't a deep film. It samples from the highlights of a very intricate life with a slapdash approach. I suppose the disjointed sampling is appropriate in an ironic way. It's how his music is often manipulated today. However, it doesn't lend itself to a dramatically affecting story arc, just a well acted one. Chadwick Boseman is indeed an actor to watch.

Mark Hobin
Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

Chadwick Boseman is turning into the king of tame African America biopics. Not to say that his performance wasn't astonishing; capturing everything from James Brown's raspy, sometimes undecipherable, Southern twang, to his often mimicked but never duplicated dance moves, Boseman absolutely nails it, giving an Oscar worthy performance. That said, it's the choppy, redundant and consistently PG-13 direction from Tate Taylor (The Help) and the overall lack of emotional connection that had my enjoyment level taking a nosedive a little after the first hour. Read the rest of my review at: Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus

Markus Robinson
Markus Robinson

Super Reviewer

James Brown: If it sounds good and it feels good, then it's musical. There is a level of familiarity to musician biopics at this point that tends to keep me from becoming too excited about the prospect of a new one. With varying degrees of separation, they mostly tend to follow a formula, much like any film that hits similar beats as its predecessors within the same sub-genres (just look at the Guardians of the Galaxy, which opens on the same day, as it is supremely entertaining, but still following a proven formula). Keeping that in mind, I am also a big fan of James Brown and was happy to go in to this film pretty open-minded (as I generally do). If there is one way to express how much I ended up enjoying Get On Up, it would have to be by stating that no musician biopic has ever made me want to dance as much as Get On Up did. While the film only occasionally falls into some familiar trappings, Chadwick Boseman's lead performance is terrific in a film that tries to be fair to its main subject, and add plenty of soul to the genre. read the whole review at

Aaron Neuwirth
Aaron Neuwirth

Super Reviewer

Get On Up Quotes

News & Features