james n. brown

Diary of an Aspiring Actress- Why Chadwick Boseman is Reason Enough to see "Get On Up"

There’s been much debate about who should be able to tell “our” stories and why since news broke that the producers of The Help would be tackling the life of icon James Brown. I won’t go into that debate here because that could go on forever but I will say I understand people’s hesitance to see the film even after having seen it myself. 

BUT…this article is to praise the work of a fellow actor. So…that’s what I am going to do!

Chadwick Boseman single handedly turned Get On Up into a film worth seeing. His performance is layered, honest and awe-inspiring as he conquers not only the specific physical life of James Brown but also his signature dance moves (Boseman does his own dancing in the film) and distinctive speaking voice. For such a young talent to step into a role of this magnitude and not only deliver but EXCEL is worth supporting the film outside of whatever debate is happening about whether or not white directors should be allowed to assist in the telling of our stories. This performance is one that should be seen by US regardless of who brought it to fruition.

I, honestly, didn’t feel at all like the story was missing key components of who James Brown was and it’s due to how specific Chadwick’s performance is. He made it impossible for Brown’s larger than life Blackness to be “whitewashed” as many online debaters have argued. What I saw was a man with layered brokenness who believed in himself enough to make others do the same (and he was a GENIUS musically…but you already know that). The film only fell short in that it tried very hard to mirror Ray in drawing direct lines between Brown’s upbringing and adult issues by misplacing flashbacks in weird places throughout the film…but…that’s none of my business.

And then there’s always Queen V. Oh man. Viola Davis doesn’t have a huge role in this film but she makes every moment count as usual. I can’t say enough about how amazing she is and I feel that she is the most talented actress of our generation…and is definitely one of the most amazing of all-time. She can turn a two minute scene into an Oscar nomination and she does the same in “Get On Up”.