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I'm a middle-aged black man now and sometimes I wonder if young people
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Everyone will remember the name Jackie Robinson. He became more then a
baseball player, he became a legend, and a hero. Almost 70 years later
his influence is still felt today. You ask anyone who follows baseball
they know the name, the number, what it meant to the sport, and this
Luckily the film doesn't try to do too much by telling the life story of Jackie Robinson, instead it focuses on Robinson's days in the Negro League in 1945 to his first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Even with America coming off its victory against Fascism in World War II, racism was still prominent. This was especially true with the racist attitudes against African-Americans. At a time when the society in America was still segregated based on race, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American Major League Baseball player. He broke through the color barrier that had kept blacks out of the Major League. Despite his amazing skills as a ballplayer, Robinson faces huge adversity dealing with the racist prejudice from the public, the fans, and fellow ballplayers. His greatness on the field had such a huge impact on the game and America's attitude towards African-Americans. Of course talent can only take a player so far, it was Robinson's character & pride that really made him standout. He became an icon in the civil rights movement in America, and ended racial segregation in America's greatest past time. This is why we remember his name, and his number.
Chadwick Boseman has such an uncanny resemblance to Jackie Robinson. He played Robinson beautifully as a man of great talent and character. You can see him boiling inside at moments dealing with the stress and anger Robinson must have felt with the world coming down on him. I love that this film isn't just about Robinson's courage, but that of those who supported him. Jackie's wife Rachel is played wonderfully by Nicole Beharie. She is beautiful, strong, and good natured. She had to be as strong as Jackie was to endure the rough journey ahead. While most love stories come across as corny especially in a sports movie, this works thanks to the chemistry and wonderful acting of Boseman and Beharie. Harrison Ford is unforgettable in his supporting role as Branch Rickey, the legendary General Manger who took great risks in signing Jackie Robinson. This was one of Ford's best performances, bringing charisma, charm, and heart to his role. Branch Rickey was a gutsy and innovative figure in baseball, and Ford did him justice. The acting overall is wonderful, and I give credit to a great supporting cast.
The film is a true inspirational story of how a baseball player helped change a sport, and how sport can change a country. Despite it's cliché moments, this film has a charm to it that makes it so beloved. Its my hope that 42 film will educate and inspire this generation and the next and that 42 won't become lost amongst the Sports film or bio-pic movie genre. Does 42 adequately match the legacy of the man tries it depicts? Is Jackie Robinson's life simply too great for a two hour motion picture? whatever legacy it will create, 42 is still a proud tribute to one of baseballs greatest figures.
A few years ago during Black History Month, I reviewed The Jackie Robinson Story which starred Robinson. I mentioned he wasn't much of an actor but his skill in baseball was the reason he was used, anyway, so that made it worth seeing. So now we have another depiction of his major league career as portrayed by Chadwick Boseman and, man, he gets to portray his anger after getting some really appalling comments from a manager of the Pirates team (Alan Tudyk, in a really brave performance). But we also see Robinson get some support from his wife, Rachel (Nicole Beharie), a fellow African-American reporting on him named Wendell Smith (Andre Holland), and especially, Brooklyn Dodgers head Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford). In fact, the most touching part was when Rickey mentions something in his past that made him pick someone like Jackie for his team. So for every awful depiction of racism, there's a just as inspirational depiction of strength among his team of overcoming those odds. So on that note, I highly recommend 42.
42, a biopic that unsurprisingly stuns the audience with it's non-cliché drama, amazing acting from every word delivered to every facial expression, and Boseman's athletic and acting abilities. People who have been worried about the SPECIFIC details of Jackie's life will be delighted to see an amazing copy of his life, with Robinson's stint in the Negro,Minor, and Major Leagues. Chadwick's athletic ability has been tested and he has passed, he showed a spot on portrayal of Jackie's movements/style. The cinematography was actually a sight to see, I'd have to say that during the baseball playing scenes, I would of probably been turned off if it specifically wasn't for this look, it captures the scene back then, while still keep in touch with today's audience. The supporting roles were just tremendous, I don't know if I'd say award winning but Harrison Ford will get notice for this role as Branch Rickey, he captures the charisma yet tough heartiness of Branch. Comedically, the jokes aren't cliché, they're not cheap and Boseman shows his range comedically and dramatically. In conclusion, 42 is an amazing looking film and even though it is rated PG-13, the racial topic isn't too weak or strong and at times they may actually overuse, the "n" word, this film is still one of my favorite bio pics that I've seen in a long time and I hope you"ll enjoy it too, I know the audience did because this was one of the few films where an applause occurred at the end of it and I'm not scared to say that I was a part of it.
"42" tells the story of the American legend Jackie Robinson, the first
African-American major league baseball player. This film takes place in
the 1940s when racism and segregation were very prominent, so Jackie
has to overcome many challenges and deal with the doubt and judgment
people have towards him. With the support of journalist Wendell Smith
(Andre Holland), Rachel Robinson (Nicole Beharie) and Dodger's owner
Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), Jackie proves he has what it takes to
I really love this film. Not only is "42" educational, but it also has a sense of humor, wit and a whole lot of inspiration. This film captures the hardships that not only Jackie and his family dealt with, but also the hatred that was shown towards the people that supported him. I really like the cinematography and the way the camera angles are able to capture the movement of the players and the unspoken communication between the team members. The costume and set design is also very well done and accurate for that time period.
My favorite character is Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) because he really shows emotion in a realistic way. Jackie is faced with challenge after challenge, but always overcomes, and Chadwick did a phenomenal job of displaying all that was going through his characters mind with nothing but a simple expression. Chadwick also captured Jackie's spunk and defiance towards the norms. Jackie Robinson is such an inspirational person and character. At any given moment he could have given up, let down the people that looked up to him, believe all the hate that was thrown at him, but he didn't, and that's what makes him a hero. I believe Jackie is a character that every man, woman and child can look up to and find inspiration in.
My favorite scene is when Jackie plays one of his first games as a Dodger. The manager of the opposing team is very slanderous and vile towards Jackie. He calls out awful racial slurs while Jackie is out on the field, but Jackie knows if he did anything about it he would be the one who gets punished. Finally after the other Dodgers had enough, Eddie Stanky marched over to the opposing team and told the manager to sit down. He knows he is breaking the rules, but when he sees a team member of his being harped on he takes a chance and stands up of for him. This scene shows that the color of one's skin doesn't matter and that Eddie would have done that for any one of his teammates. It's a wonderful example of equity and sportsmanship and it is very moving.
I give "42" 5 out of 5 stars because it is touching, funny, educational and inspirational. It's rated PG-13 which I agree with because it does run a bit long and younger children may find it hard to sit through, but it also contains a lot of racial slurs and slanderous language that may be hard for children to understand.
Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Raven Devanney, age 15. For video review, go to kidsfirst dot org.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I reviewed the 1950 film "The Jackie Robinson Story", I made the
following comment - "What I'd really like to see is a modern day
version of the Jackie Robinson story that does a more thorough job of
his college and military years, with a lot better look at his
International League and Dodgers career". "42" comes close, as it hones
in nicely on Jackie's days in the Negro Leagues and his start in the
Majors with the International League Montreal Royals, a Brooklyn
Dodgers farm team. The actor who portrays Robinson, Chadwick Boseman,
bears an uncanny resemblance to the color barrier breaking athlete, and
truth be told, actually does a better job than Robinson himself in the
1950 biopic, who displayed a surprising lack of charisma considering
his accomplishments both on and off the field.
Be advised however that this is not so much a sports movie as it is about the state of the country and race relations in the latter half of the 1940's. As such, some of the scenes are painful in their depictions of racial intolerance. Yet at the same time, one gets a first hand view of how Jackie's teammates came to embrace him first as an accomplished ball player and then as a teammate and friend. The Pee Wee Reese (Lucas Black) scene in the latter part of the movie becomes an emotional moment when the Dodgers shortstop steps forward to challenge a stadium full of baseball fans to accept a new era in race relations. That was one of the pivotal scenes in the film for me.
Now had I not known in advance that Harrison Ford was portraying Dodgers owner Branch Rickey, I might not have figured it out on my own. Ford was totally submerged into his character, both physically and emotionally. He offered a nice balance between the often laid back approach he took to his position against the firebrand posture required when it came time to lay down the law on anti-discrimination. It was surprising to hear that his first encounter with a black ball player was forty years PRIOR to events in the film, a stunning acknowledgment that took four decades to come full circle regarding his own personal mission to combat racism.
All in all, I don't think you have to be a baseball fan to enjoy this film. The period details are attentively done, and the competent casting of the support players is a big plus. Especially effective is Nicole Beharie in the role of Robinson's wife Rachel, and Andre Holland as the chronicler of Robinson's career while reporting for the Pittsburgh Courier. Elements of comic relief are layered into the story to mitigate the harsh examples of racism, and you'll get a kick out of the locker room scene when Ralph Branca (Hamish Linklater) encourages Jackie to take a shower with him. There's just no way to make that come out right, but they took a pretty good swing at it.
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