(2013)

Critic Reviews

62

Metascore

Based on 40 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
One of the all-time great sports movies — primarily because it's one of the all-time great sports stories.
83
Helgeland works in what I think of as a conservative — or maybe it's just really, really basic — neoclassical Hollywood style, spelling everything out, letting the story unfold in a plainspoken and deliberate fashion, with a big, wide, open pictorial camera eye. It's like the latter-day Clint Eastwood style, applied to material that's as traditional as can be.
83
42 is excessively retro, neglecting the urge to pepper scenes with comic relief or oppressing, flashy conflict.
75
It’s a perfectly unexceptional but slickly made, sincerely acted, often entertaining, sometimes manipulative and always watchable blend of action on the diamond and bravery behind the scenes that will please baseball fanatics more than movie historians. It’s a good enough biopic to make you wish it were a better motion picture.
75
Earnest, righteous, historically accurate and often entertaining.
70
Helgeland has given us an impressive introduction to one of the most important men in U.S. history. But you can’t help wanting more.
63
Given Helgeland's rep as a screenwriter (including an Oscar for 1997's L.A. Confidential), it rankles that 42 settles for the official story. The private Robinson, who died of a heart attack at 53 in 1972, stays private. We stay on the outside looking in. Let it be.
50
The Hollywood Reporter
Pretty when it should be gritty and grandiosely noble instead of just telling it like it was, 42 needlessly trumps up but still can't entirely spoil one of the great American 20th century true-life stories, the breaking of major league baseball's color line by Jackie Robinson.
50
A relentlessly formulaic biopic that succeeds at transforming one of the most compelling sports narratives of the 20th century into a home run of hagiography.
40
Village Voice
The movie sugars up Robinson's story, and like too many period pieces it summons some vague idea of a warmer, simpler past by bathing everything in thick amber light, as if each scene is one of those preserved mosquitoes that begat the monsters of Jurassic Park.

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