42 (2013)

Biography, Drama, Sport
Chadwick Boseman, T.R. Knight, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie
The life story of Jackie Robinson and his history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers under the guidance of team executive Branch Rickey.
42 is an earnest, inspirational, and respectfully told biography of an influential American sports icon, though it might be a little too safe and old-fashioned for some.
  • Warner Bros. Pictures Company:
  • PG-13 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 12 Apr 2013 Released:
  • 16 Jul 2013 DVD Release:
  • $95.0M Box office:

All subtitles:

Trailer:

A Number on the Back5/10
Greetings again from the darkness. After some soul searching, I have decided to turn off the critical side of my brain and concentrate on what is good about this movie. As a baseball and movie fanatic, a bit of trepidation creeps in when the two come together. However, this really isn't a baseball movie, though the story focuses on what may be the most critical turning point in baseball history. In fact, this turning point was much bigger than the American Pasttime ... it was also key to the Civil Rights Movement. The movie is a reminder of how different things could have been with the wrong man rather than the right one ... Jackie Robinson.

Writer/Director Brian Helgeland (s/p for L.A. Confidential and Mystic River) takes a look at what occurred in 1945-47, when Brooklyn Dodgers President and GM Branch Rickey (played by Harrison Ford) made the business decision to integrate baseball. We see his selection process ... Roy Campanella "too nice", Satchel Paige "too old". He settles on Jackie Robinson after their infamous 3 hour meetings where Rickey confronts Robinson with his need for a black player "with the guts NOT to fight back".

Chadwick Boseman portrays Jackie Robinson as a man thoroughly in love with his wife Rachel (played by Nicole Beharie), and one who says he just wants to "be a ballplayer", while at the same time taking pride in his world-changing role. We see his evolution from his stint as shortstop for the Kansas City Monarchs of Negro Leagues to his time with the Dodgers' AAA minor league team in Montreal and finally to his introduction to the Major Leagues in 1947.

This is an earnest and sincere movie that removes the complexities of the times and the main characters. Much of it is portrayed as good guys versus bad guys. The good guys are really good and the bad guys are really bad. Alan Tudyk has the unenviable task of portraying Philadelphia Phillies manager Ben Chapman, who famously unleashed a verbal assault of vile racism on Robinson. Mr. Rickey credited Chapman's small-mindedness as the single biggest factor in unifying the Dodger team around Robinson. The other famous moment given time in the movie is when beloved shortstop Pee Wee Reese (Lucas Black) put his arm around Robinson, shushing the Cincinnati fans. Of course as a baseball fan, I enjoyed the all too brief antics of Brooklyn manager Leo Durocher (Christopher Meloni) whose place in the Robinson story would have been much more profound had he not succumbed to the weakness of the flesh (so to speak).

Filmmaker Helgeland provides a tale of morality and social change, and provides a glimpse at the character and strength required by those involved. The story has much more to do with demonstrating how the times began to change than it does with how Jackie Robinson, an unpolished ballplayer but superior athlete, transformed himself into a perennial all-star and league MVP. And that's as it should be. As Rickey stated, acceptance will only occur if the world is convinced Robinson is a fine gentleman and a great baseball player. That burden must have weighed heavily at times, but it's very clear that Robinson was the right man at the right time.
Very Well Done8/10
You probably think this film is completely focused on the story of Jackie Robinson. That is definitely not the case, as this film finds balance between the story of Robinson, baseball, and segregation. And this film succeeds in depicting all three aspects to bring a powerful, heartwarming, humorous film. The casting is great. Every actor fits his or her character perfectly. Harrison Ford does an amazing job portraying his character with his no- nonsense humorous attitude. He has a good chance of grabbing an academy award nomination for this roll. This is one of those movies that takes you for an emotional thrill ride. You feel for the Robinson. You want him to win. And you rejoice when he does. So sit back and let the film drag you in; it's worth your time.
Extraordinary Performances by young actors10/10
I'm a middle-aged black man now and sometimes I wonder if young people get it.

I was born in Richmond, VA, and I'm 1 (ONE) generation removed from segregation.

It is because of this that I was FLOORED by the performance of these young actors. Chadwick Boseman & Nicole Beharie did a magnificent job portraying the grace and courage of the Robinsons.

I couldn't have done it. Boseman has an UNCANNY resemblance to Jackie, and his performance was so visceral that it proved to me that I couldn't have done it.

I wouldn't have had the courage to stand up to racism by NOT fighting back. I wouldn't have had the patience to bide my time until folks decided it was time to see me as being more than sub-human. I absolutely wouldn't have taken the risk of playing a game while people threatened my wife and child.

When Jackie finally got angry enough to smash his bat against a wall, that was the ONLY thing I could relate to - then to realize he had to go back out there because it was about MORE than just him - I was flabbergasted by his courage.

This is more than a film about baseball. The nuances like watching people in second class seating still turning out to support Robinson in full-on "Sunday church service" dress was poignant to me.

This movie ain't just about Jackie.

My mom is from New York, and she was 7 years old when Jackie joined the Dodgers. She remembers this clearly.

It's obvious why you (as I did) would take your kids to see this film as it shows what happened and how far we've come. For me, it shows what other people did FOR ME that I was incapable of doing for myself.

This film has some corny parts to it - like most films of this ilk, it sanitizes some things and does tie a nice bow on some issues glossed over in the retelling...

..that doesn't mean it's not a darned good film.

I'm pretty cynical these days. It's not often that I watch a film with a lump in my throat the whole time. I am indebted to the young actors who portrayed the people of my grandparents' generation with style, class and urgency.

I will own this film when it becomes available and that date can't come soon enough.
An Inspiring Baseball Movie That Touches All the Bases9/10
As Jackie Robinson was an excellent, multi-faceted baseball player, "42" is an excellent multi-faceted movie. Writer-director Brian Helgeland manages to artfully mix elements of drama, baseball action, humor and romance[!] while telling an important story about recent American history.

I thought it was wise for the film to focus on just a few years of Robinson's career, so that more time could be given to important scenes both on and off the field.

"42" is not called the "Jackie Robinson Story" for a reason. The movie is about more than just one man. The film shows the roles that Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), Robinson's wife Rachel (Nicole Beharie), and journalist Wendell Smith (Andre Holland) played in Robinson's career and life. All the actors give fine performances. And Chadwick Boseman is fantastic in portraying Robinson's determination, anxiety, anger, athleticism and courage.

I also appreciated the scenes that touched on the cultural climate in the nation. Watch for what happens between a father and his son when Robinson is introduced at a game in Cincinnati.

I thoroughly enjoyed "42". It's a film that that should be a game-winning hit with baseball fans, and those who appreciate civil rights and American history.
Fantastic5/10
I did not expect a movie like this to be so good!

The acting was brilliant. Chad Boseman as Jackie Robinson did fantastic job playing his character. You can feel the turmoil building up inside him every time some racist moron starts to provoke him. Most of the time, I felt so much sympathy for him.

Harrison Ford should be nominated for an Academy Award. From beginning to end, he was spot on. He's one of the only people in the movie who actually treats Jackie like a human being from the beginning.

The other actors were good too.

With almost every sports movie, you can pretty much tell were the story was going. I will admit it was kind of predictable, but it was still enjoyable nonetheless.

The racism. Oh god. I understand that the film was set in the 40s and that's how it was back then, but the racism in this film angered me to no end. I could not stand some of these characters, especially one that stood out as the biggest piece of garbage in this entire film. I can't blame the filmmakers for that; in fact, if they did sugarcoat the language, I don't think the film would have been as strong. I guess the only good thing that comes out of it is how it helps build Jackie's character. You could feel the rage building up inside him.

I guess the only problem I have is how there was not as much baseball as there should have been in a movie about a baseball player. The gaming scenes were a lot of fun to watch but I felt that they were a bit too short.

Overall, the acting was great, the characters were great, and the story was great. If you're a sports fan, 42 is film worth checking out.