I have always been a fan of biography themed films. Movies like Sweet Dreams, The Doors, Amadeus, and others simply fascinated me. This film is about the fall and rise of the greatest soul singer, amazing entertainer, and the “Godfather of Soul”, James Brown. What I loved about this film is how they mixed it all up.
It didn’t just start like most bio films with him young and going to modern day, they mixed it all up which made it more interesting. Of course the music in the film is pure classic and hit after hit, but it was the performances that truly blew me away. Chadwick Boseman who plays James Brown, didn’t just nail the look and moves, but the voice. He nailed it! I was also blown away by Nelsan Ellis (Bobby Byrd), James right hand man and singing partner.
The film explains the roots of James songs, his life in pure poverty, the abandonment of his mother at a young age and how that carried him through his whole life and through his songs, and his spiritual connection he had that won fans all over the world and from all races.
You can’t sit in the theater and not want to get up and dance or at least tap your foot the whole time, this film had energy, sadness, powerful performances, and a meaning at the very end that touched me very much. The performances of Viola Davies as James mother, Octavia Spencer as Aunt Honey, and Dan Aykroyd as manager Ben Bart did outstanding performances, but it was Chadwick as James Brown and Nelsan as Bobby Byrd that deserve Oscar nominations next year.
Produced by Rolling Stone singer, Mick Jagger and directed by Tate Taylor (who directed the amazing film, The Help), did an outstanding job. This is a bio/musical that should not be missed.