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Chadwick Boseman absolutely astounds when he’s on stage performing as James Brown.  From the singing to the moves (and splits!!), he just nails  it. Incredible. Worth seeing just for those on stage moments.  He’s less impressive in his acting. I found him  to be one note.   But seeing  Boseman perform as James Brown  from 16 to 60- wow!!

Directed by Tate Taylor, of “The Help”  fame,   the movie tells the rags-to-riches story of this one-of-a-kind performer, the creator of funk. Produced by Mick Jagger, whose first meeting with James Brown comes to light on screen. 

Jordan Scott, playing the young James Brown is highly effective. So is Dan Aykroyd as his manager. Most impressive in a small role: the  always Oscary-worthy Viola  Davis as the mom of James Brown. She gives a positively heartbreaking , raw performance.   The most fun: Brandon Smith in an itty bitt role as Little Richard.

The film  jumps back and forth in time.  Too much so.  And it  wears out its welcome, clocking in at 2 hours and 18 minutes.  The movie is at its best  with the musical performances.  Sexy. You get why James Brown was such of a one of a kind. 


3 stars


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