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REVIEW: '42'

Robinson biopic is a home run

UP Contributor

Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013

Updated: Thursday, April 25, 2013 10:04


Courtesy photo

Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) and Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) talk tactics in "42."

We all face challenges on a daily basis. How we face those challenges defines who we are. In the world of baseball in the 1940s, one man faced huge challenges with dignity and resolve. That man was Jackie Robinson.

The movie “42”, written and directed by Brian Hegleland, tells the story of Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) and his role in the integration of baseball. With the help of team executive Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), Robinson signs to the Brooklyn Dodgers, making him the first African-American to play in the major leagues.

Along with this opportunity, Robinson must overcome racial discrimination. In 1945, he is offered a contract by Rickey, on the condition that he keeps cool in the face of racial abuse. 

Robinson maintains his composure while battling name calling and discriminating comments. He presents a tough exterior while displaying his compassion and dedication for baseball. Boseman captures the inner turmoil that Robinson endured.

Rickey is determined to change the baseball world by breaking the color barrier. Rickey’s determination to stand by Robinson eventually inspires those who were against having a black man in the league.

Critics argued that Robinson was “too big to run,” when what they really objected to was the color of his skin.

Rickey trades one player who refuses to play with Robinson, and threatens others, until the team begins to accept him.

As time passes, Robinson’s status rises as fans recognize his abilities.

Wendell Smith (Andre Holland) is a journalist who keeps track of Robinson’s stats. Along with being his personal publicist, Smith is able to support Robinson through the hardship of discrimination.

Holland’s portrayal of the inspiring journalist, shows Smith’s determination to be the best writer in the African-American culture.

Rachel Robinson (Nicole Beharie), is Jackie’s backbone. She helps him keep his composure when facing the public. If he ever feels discouraged, he looks to his wife for comfort and support. Beharie portrays Rachel as a soft-spoken wife and maintains a calm stance, even when Jackie hits a game-winning home run.

Leo Durocher (Christopher Meloni) plays the tough, outspoken manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Durocher initially is against Robinson joining the team. However, after some persuasion by Rickey, he goes to practice and is swayed by Robinson’s skills. Meloni does a great job of capturing the spirit of the crusty, yet supportive manager.

Other stand out characters include Pee Wee Reese (Lucas Black), Ben Chapman (Alan Tudyk), Dixie Walker (Ryan Merriman) and Red Barber (John C. McGinley). Each actor shows the personality of their character accurately.

This is an inspirational movie for all ages. It is not just for those interested in baseball. The story line shows a historical event that ended segregation and continues to inspire players today.

The film contains strong language, adult content and some nudity.

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