Get Back Up Image

Get Back Up

By Bobby LePire | May 8, 2020

During all this, and the band’s future successes, Justin would take drugs, or become hard to deal with due to his mental health. This would lead to friction with other members, managers, and family but in a way that feels more relatable and understandable than just too much booze and cocaine from X rockers. Get Back Up keeps the focus on Justin, where his head was at during certain times and how exactly his drug use became more than even the singer realized at the time.

The director allows the audience to empathize with, then get angry at, Justin. Mind you, he is not painting Justin as some villain who swallows drugs because he can’t deal with anyone else. Niven gets underneath to explore what makes him tick, so the audience can understand Justin’s decisions, even if they don’t agree with them. He does this by interviewing just about every major person in Justin’s life (excluding his children for obvious reasons). While this does set up a traditional talking heads style, there is more going on than just that.

“These interjections prove the perfect visual representation…to put the viewers in the headspace of Justin…”

Of course, there is concert footage from various stages of their career. Some of it is more professionally shot, and some it seems to be filmed by fans from the audience. No matter what, these scenes capture the energy and raw emotionality the band brings to all of their performances. Niven also uses the medium of choice – film – to good effect. Every once in a while, when Justin is talking about his journey, there will be an edit to a lit cigarette burning out, a bird flapping its wings, waves crashing on the beach, among other symbolic visuals. These interjections prove the perfect visual representation, sometimes a little more literal, others metaphorical, to put the viewers in the headspace of Justin at any given moment throughout Get Back Up.

If you are not a fan of Blue October’s style of music, then Get Back Up will not sway you, nor does it try to. Even for non-fans, the story of mental health, coping through drug use, and nearly losing it all is compellingly told through excellent directing, intense editing, and very open and honest interviews. Fans of the band will adore this, and I suspect those who are not will as well.

Get Back Up (2020)

Directed: Norry Niven


Starring: Justin Furstenfeld, Jeremy Furstenfeld, Ryan Delahoussaye, Matt Noveskey, Will Knaak, etc.

Movie score: 9.5/10

Get Back Up Image

"…fans of the band will adore this, and I suspect those who are not will as well."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Tonya Moore says:

    I was amazed by the documentary. I am not a professional “reviewer” or “critic” and know nothing about the business/logistics – but I AM a member of “the AUDIENCE” – and “success” or “failure” is always tracked in some way and clearing reflects the majority of “the Audience” (a huge diverse group of clueless viewers) agree on what is bad, ok, good, great (based solely on how it made us feel). “Get Back Up” has already been determined to be “great” by the majority of the Audience (and continues to from what I have read or heard). It drew us in, got our attention and never let it go (which is a huge challenge for documentaries), the MAJORITY of the audience in some way related to it because it was so authentic, and it made us FEEL! If not, there would not have been so many people buying it because “everybody says it’s good” or putting it into your DVD when friends come over and saying things like “oh you have to watch this even though you’re a pop/country/classical music lover – it’s great.” And that is what is happening. I have no doubt it would make the “TOP 10 TODAY” thing that Netflix does.I hope someone who has the ability to get it in a popular streaming product like Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. is smart enough to make it happen. Norry Niven gave “the Audience” what at a 1st brief glance seems like one of the common average musician/band “behind the scenes” type shows that are shown all of the time on the various “music channels” on standard cable tv; however, it doesn’t take but a few minutes to become engrossed in the OPPOSITE of those cookie-cutter shows – a compelling emotional story of which the Audience is a part of since it is a deep look into humanity and all of the hopes, dreams, ambitions, successes, failures, bad luck, bad choices, good luck, good choices, hardships, hard work, happiness, disappointments, anger, frustration, self-hatred, lies, the good & bad of all of the human relationships, family, moms, dads, siblings, friends, co-workers, lovers, spouses, kids – as well as huge human issues that are sadly more common than many of us realize – but by far the BEST is it is an honest reflection of how we all can choose courage, strength, empathy, forgiveness, determination, perseverance, support, belief, and LOVE!

  2. Driver Jones says:

    A breathtaking and completely transparent journey. I’ve always adored Justin, but I’m so proud of him for everything he’s overcome 1 day at a time. And so thankful he has such an amazing group of people that loves him to push him in the right direction. Job well done Boys!

  3. Lynne Hindle says:

    I loved it. But I do agree a lot was left out (maybe it’s way too personal for him to share yet). I would like to have seen more about his story with Blue and his battle to get her. (But then again maybe it’s something he doesn’t want Blue exposed to yet at her young age. I would love to see more of his struggle to remain sober. (You can tell an addict it’s me n your family or the drugs) that’s a difficult choice if he truly wasn’t ready. I really felt heartache for Jeremy when he teared up and when Justin did it got mine rolling. Would like to have seen a more in depth interview with Ryan and Will. Learnt a lot about Justin that was really happening to him. And love he choose life. Also more about Sarah and her support for him. Bc I know 1st hand loving an addict is difficult and trying to be supportive of them is exhausting. Would really love to see a part 2 of his sober years leading him to peace and happiness with himself and life now. Documentary aside Justin is very supportive and honest with his fans. He advocates for mental illness and I just love his step recovery work on Tuesdays. Bc it’s not only drug and alcohol related but mental illness as well. Those 1 hour with him on Tuesday does more for me than my personal counselor.

  4. Norry Niven says:

    Humbled….thank you!

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon