The film “42” features the story of Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), GM of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the great Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman), two men whose courageous stand against prejudice forever changed history and the game of baseball.
“42” is a film about baseball, and sports legend Jackie Robinson, but more than that it portrays how Jackie Robinson became a bigger legend and role model by the way helived his life both on and off the field. “42” reveals Branch Rickey’s courage as he signed Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking Major League Baseball’s color line, and it follows Jackie’s amazing journey as he faced racism from every side, even from his own team.
The story of Jackie Robinson’s life was made for the box office, and people of faith will find many elements worth watching, from his character and restraint as others said ugly things to him, his refusal to quit when the going got tough, his poignant love story with his wife, his commitment to his son—even though he had no memories with his own dad, and his willingness to be the first person to take a stand.
All of this combines into a compelling story that will keep your attention from beginning to end. I left the theatre after watching "42" with the same feeling I have after seeing my favorite team win a big ballgame, but in this case the celebration was from watching Jackie Robinson's inspiring story as he excelled—not only in baseball—but also at the game of life.
Director Brian Helgeland [L.A. Confidential] assembled an impressive cast for “42” and they deliver some solid performances. Harrison Ford [WITNESS] is believable in his role. The padding, make-up prosthetics, and mannerisms plunge him into character so much that you forget it’s Harrison Ford. Chadwick Boseman [The Express] does an outstanding job as Jackie Robinson, and the chemistry between him and Nicole Beharie (in the role of Rachel Robinson) delivers a touching love story. Also of note in the film is Wendell Smith (played by Andre Holland), in his role as an African American baseball writer hired by Branch Rickey to help Jackie navigate through his new found position and fame. Other cast includes Christopher Meloni as Leo Durocher, and Lucas Black as Pee Wee Reese.
More Than a Baseball Game
“42” is an enjoyable film that will keep your attention. I went to see the movie expecting to see a film about baseball—and I did—but this film is about so much more. When Jackie Robinson rounded the bases for the Brooklyn Dodgers, he didn't just leave footprints in the dirt, he left much bigger footprints that changed lives and history forever. "42" conveys Jackie's story of breaking into the major leagues and his stand against prejudice with finesse and an impressive attention to detail, but it's the glimpse into the heart of the man who wore the uniform—and his tender love story with his wife—that knocks this film out of the park.
“42” is rated PG-13 for thematic elements including language. Several scenes are uncomfortable because of the derogatory words hurled at Jackie Robinson and parents should be prepared to discuss those scenes with their children. There is one adultery scene (with manager Leo Durocher) but it’s handled with appropriate consequences. There are also multiple uses of language throughout the film.