Biopic ‘42’ grips audience through story of American hero Jackie Robinson

‘42’ – starring Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford
8.5 out of 10

By Andrew Marini

The movie “42” tells the story of Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman), the first African American athlete to break the race barrier and play in an all-white baseball league.

Wasting no time getting to the point the film opens with Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), the general manager for the Brooklyn Dodgers sitting in an office announcing to his staff that he will be breaking the color barrier by signing the first African-American player into white baseball. Instantly met with skepticism, Rickey decides to sign Jackie Robinson to his minor league team.

Robinson is all for the idea and knows he is in for a tough road ahead full of racism, violence and a complete life change.

The film, although a baseball movie, isn’t  full of lengthy baseball scenes rather just the occasional gripping highlight of Robinson making a great play or dealing with hardship on the field. A great storyline is that of watching his teammates slowly start to accept him, from refusing to shower with him early on to eventually getting in physical confrontations on his behalf.

Racism was running high in the 1940s and the film captivates that especially when the team travels to more prejudice filled states. Robinson, with the help of Rickey, adopts a peaceful style of dealing with things by consistently turning the other cheek when wronged.

One scene almost sums up the whole problem with racism when a boy goes to a baseball game with his father to watch Robinson play, but as his father starts to chant inappropriate racist comments the son eventually joins in showing just how influential parents were on their children’s view towards others.

The only knock I would have on this film would be a critique of the director for choppiness amongst scenes.

In the end “42” is a captivating film that anyone, sports fan or not, would enjoy seeing and one that does a great job of telling the story of one of America’s most respected and greatest heroes.