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Extraordinary Performances by young actors
hitek_dialekt13 April 2013
I'm a middle-aged black man now and sometimes I wonder if young people get it.

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.
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A Number on the Back
David Ferguson13 April 2013
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.
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T-Fizzle13 April 2013
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.
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Very Well Done
gamerzach711 April 2013
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.
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An Inspiring Baseball Movie That Touches All the Bases
rlplummer212 April 2013
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 American history.

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.
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Not just a baseball movie, but a great human story.
Danielramos1615 April 2013
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 country.

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.
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"You Want a Player Who Doesn't Have the Guts, to Fight back?" "No, I Want a Player Who's Got the Guts Not to Fight Back."
dmurilloroman12 April 2013
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.
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42 is a near-great depiction of Jackie Robinson's breaking the color line in baseball history
tavm18 April 2013
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.
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42 Hits It Almost Out of the Park.
toyoshimad20 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
"42" is a good biopic in the tradition of many sports hero biopics. Formulaic, yet still inspiring. Like many of these types of films, we don't see deeply into the emotional psyche of the hero. The relationship between Robinson, Branch Rickey, and reporter Wendell Smith are key. Much is made about the racial torment Robinson had to endure. But that's the core of this film. We know Robinson's accomplishments as a ball player; rather "we" are put into his shoes. We see and feel his frustration to constant taunts. But Robinson kept his composure. Robinson to Rickey, "Are you looking for a Negro who is afraid to fight back?" Rickey, "I need a Negro with the guts not to fight back." How he managed to keep his cool isn't really explained, other than Rickey's ever-present support. Some inferences are made, but not clearly. It's nice to see old Ebbets Field brought back to life.
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"I don't know who he is or where he is, but he's comin'". - Branch Rickey speculating on the first black Major League ballplayer.
classicsoncall14 April 2013
Warning: 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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Inspirational, Educational and Humorous Story of An American Legend
rannynm12 April 2013
"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 make it.

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.
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"42-2013" -- Not as good as a TV biography on HBO, such as Truman or Warm Springs -- or Seabiscuit
dimplet29 July 2013
"42" is less inspiring than bludgeoning, yet has inspiring moments. It is a fair depiction of racism in the mid-20th century, but the Jackie Robinson we see seems to be transported from the 21st century. The writing is good, but key scenes are wasted on drivel.

"42" gets off to a bad start with its "based on" disclaimer. Isn't the true story good enough? Apparently, it wasn't dramatic enough for writer-director Brian Helgeland. So he "improved" it.

You do not honor a man by dishonoring another. Fritz Ostermueller did not bean Jackie Robinson on the head; he hit him on the shoulder, and there's no record of him yelling racist insults while doing it. Yet Brian Helgeland portrays him as a sort of neo-Nazi. And he makes an umpire who made a bad call look like a monkey. These are childish, if not racist.

There are many scenes that don't ring true, undermining the movie's credibility.

The Monarchs' bus at the rural Southern gas station is utterly implausible. If you don't let me use the restroom, I won't buy the gas, says Robinson. He gets his gas, but the bus might get a visit from the sheriff or the KKK on a lonely stretch of highway. Plus the scout from the Dodgers shows up -- not at the next ball field, but at the gas station in the middle of nowhere! He offers Jackie a tryout, and he just says, OK, without the least astonishment. A key scene ruined.

Branch Rickey offers Robinson a job, and again he just says OK. In reality they spent three hours talking; in the movie the white guy spends four minutes informing the black guy there is racism(!) out there.

I saw "The Jackie Robinson Story" - 1950 - first, and in it, Rickey tells Robinson to call his mother long-distance before deciding, who tells him to talk with a minister, who tells Robinson that the hopes of black people will be with him on the ball field. It was very well done. In "42" the key scene of the movie was wasted.

Robinson signs and promptly gets married, even though he is in New York, and she is in California, and in reality it happened three months later. We then see interminable banter outside a door about how much they love each other. But we never find out anything about Rachel, that she is a nurse, how he met or courted her, how she feels about marrying a target of the KKK. (Flashback?)

Next, we see Rachel walk into a Whites only restroom. This is precisely what Rickey told them not to do. They get booted off the plane and the airline threatens to call the sheriff. This could have been the end of Robinson's baseball career and we never would have heard of him. It might reflect the time, but it lacks believability.

In Daytona they board with a local black politician, who is "in charge of the get out the black vote." In Florida (the state with the highest per capita rate of lynchings) you could get killed just for registering people to vote, as happened to Harry T. Moore in 1950.

In 42-1950 Jackie Robinson plays himself, has a higher voice, is soft spoken, polite and even meek. Would this have sold movie tickets in 2013? Doubtful, without great writing. Helgeland turns him into an emotional volcano who keeps from erupting only with superhuman strength. That is 42-2013. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

On the other hand, the scene with Pee Wee Reese was well done, especially the bit with the kid yelling and then feeling shame.

The Ben Chapman incident is the most powerful in the movie, unsurprisingly, given the stomach turning language. By then, the movie had lost credibility. Yet, astonishingly, it is pretty accurate, judging by Wikipedia and other sources. Chapman's defense is that "everyone" yells prejudiced epithets. Pro players had to learn to ignore them -- including Robinson. The difference is that Robinson couldn't fight back. But sports writers did it for him, turning on Chapman en masse. Chapman wasn't fired until mid-1948, for being a lousy manager.

One of the strengths of 42-2013 is the character development of the white players. This is about the transformation of white attitudes, which took some courage, as well as the enormous courage of Robinson. But I never felt I got to know who Robinson really was. 42-2013 desperately needed some background on Robinson's youth, as in 42- 1950, perhaps through flashbacks. Helgeland should have hired a writer to help him.

The real emotional climax of 42-2013 could have been what came next, particularly being named Rookie of the Year by the (all white) sportswriters, which could have been a beautiful scene with Rachel, yet was reduced to text on the screen. Another scene wasted.

Larry Doby became the second black MLB player 11 weeks after Robinson, which 42-2013 fails to mention, and others soon followed, listed as text on the screen. "The Jackie Robinson Story" was filmed three years later. Apparently America was less racist than depicted in 42-2013, given the speed of desegregation of baseball.

Robinson, while amazing, was not the best black baseball player. Yet he is depicted as "supernatural": a hybrid of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Roy Hobbs. Everything in 42-2013 is exaggerated, cranked up 110 percent, including the sepia-tinged over-saturated color and the overpowering, forgettable background music. The result is not an up-swelling of admiration as much as being manipulated by a exploitative, gimmicky film.

Compare "42" to "Seabiscuit," which provides biographical backgrounds of the main characters, plus mini-documentaries of the historical period. The story is engrossing, powerful, inspiring and fun. "42" is less a story than an assemblage of scenes, with little sense of historical depth.
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Good intentions, great true story, bland and glossy to the point of insulting
secondtake11 March 2014
42 (2013)

This is a ten star, top notch dramatic story and a four star, disappointing delivery. No, the acting isn't terrible, and in fact the filming and editing are up to normal professional levels.

But that's not what makes a good movie—not alone. This is more like Disney does the Jackie Robinson Story. Oh—does that sound familiar? Yes, there is a movie called "The Jackie Robinson Story" and it stars, believe it or not, Jackie Robinson, who was not an actor and in fact couldn't hold up his end of his own story. That movie, too, falls under the bus of righteous storytelling.

But of course the story IS fantastic. And important and dramatic. It needs a less fearful approach than "42" for sure. The attempts at showing his relationship with his wife are too long and generic, there is no showing of his amazing rise through the Negro leagues, there is nothing about his psychology, even—not beyond the anger and torment that are obvious. And you know full well there are good, respectable depths available (and written about) that need to see the light of day.

Most of all there is only the expected here. There is blatant racism (some of it really terrible) and there is hero worship. And all of this is told in a glossy, bland way. There's even the required slow motion as Robinson rounds the bases after a key home run. Bravo, movie makers. Nice thinking!

Ugh. It figures the director AND writer is someone like Brian Helgeland, with little feature directing experience (just "Payback," which is however quite good). Bravo for Harrison Ford for taking on a good role and anchoring the whole thing a little.

Okay, so maybe you like feel good movies. Why not? See it. I have to admit I liked the story enough I stuck it out. I wanted to experience the events through the movie. And you can do that here. Maybe that's enough. For me it was not, and for me even further it's a shame. It doesn't put racism under the thumb enough, it doesn't make Robinson's heroic actions clear enough, it doesn't show the trap of money and necessity enough, and it doesn't even make the game of baseball as interesting as it really is. Enough.
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If you think you've seen this before, you're wrong!
42 is a movie about that particular black man, who entered the league for the very first time, challenged everyone, including his teammates and won. Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) became the pioneer athlete to stand alongside the white sportsmen on the field when segregation & racial discrimination was a "rule" in United States. However, film does not actually follow the whole story of Jackie, it more tells a story of racial revolution in baseball, which escalated after one bold decision of Brooklyn Dodgers executive - Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford). Branch was the first manager to hire a black man, a talented black man who ran fast, who could catch any ball and who could bring hundreds of black spectators to the field. And since every of them, regardless their skin color paid money to see Robinson playing, this new transfer to the team could be successful.

Brian Helgeland wrote a pretty interesting and engaging script, with really good dialogues (well, he has a great experience of it from LA Confidential and Mystic River). Even though there is no much tension in the movie, it still makes you enjoy every minute of it. At first I was not comfortable with the idea of racial discrimination, because I've seen so many good movies on this topic, and it just makes me feel bored. Most of them look like each other much. I believe that any film that regards this topic, shall be very much emotional, which helps director to deliver a message successfully. The last film that affected on me, and for sure on every person, was The Help - a masterful presentation of historic segregation. But 42 does not arise rave emotions, it instead provokes great satisfaction. That is why 42 is an above average film.

Picking totally unfamiliar actor, Chadwick Boseman, for lead role, which actually presents the whole idea of the movie, is a risky choice by director. But Jackie was exactly as it should be. Chad delivers a passionate, evolving character who struggles with his emotions and almost every person surrounding him. His convincing performance is really worth to call potentially one of the best performances this year.

And Harrison Ford, it's been years I've not seen him acting well. In fact, the portrait of Branch Rickey is one of the best performances he'd ever had. Even though Mr. Ford gets older, he can make Brooklyn Dodgers story unbelievably interesting.

As for the rest of cast, everyone is good. Maybe not the best actors you can imagine, but they make a good team and there is nothing we can reject about their performances.
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More than just a great baseball movie
will512245 May 2013
I'm a big baseball fan, so I was excited to see this movie as soon as I heard about it. The release date of April 12th coinciding with the start of the baseball season, as well as Jackie Robinson Day on April 15th (when every MLB player sports #42 in his honor), felt appropriate and was clever marketing.

In case you live under a rock and/or you happened to go to one of the few elementary schools that didn't require its students to write a report on a famous black person for Black History Month, Jackie Robinson was the first African American Major League Baseball player, who played first and second base with the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1947 through 1956. After doing a little research about Robinson, I discovered that one detail that was left out in those grade school reports was that he wasn't really the first black player in the majors, only of the of the modern era. What I mean by "the modern era" is after the Negro Leagues, which existed for about 60 years, starting in the 1880s. There were actually some black players in the major leagues before the Negro League started. However, this does not make Robinson's accomplishments any less impressive.

I have a whole new respect for Jackie Robinson after actually seeing and hearing the racism that he had to endure. In one scene, a Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher even hits him in the head. (Speaking of which, it made me wonder what the hell took so long for helmets to be made mandatory.) Some of the behavior and racial slurs coming from the crowd, coaches from other teams, and umpires was truly disgusting to watch for someone who was brought up in a generation where it's no longer socially acceptable to be blatantly racist. Sure, racism is unfortunately still alive and well in America, but it exists on a more underground level, compared to 60 years ago when it was considered the norm.

Newcomer Chadwick Boseman did a fantastic job. I'm glad the producers cast an unknown because it made it easier to believe that he really was Jackie Robinson. It would be cool to see him be recognized with an Oscar nomination, but even more importantly, I hope this will be the start of a long career. The supporting actors were great as well, particularly Lucas Black as Pee Wee Reese, the Dodgers shortstop who supported and stood up for Robinson the most during his rough first years on the team, and Alan Tudyk as Ben Chapman, the unapologetically racist Phillies manager who was one of Robinson's worst tormentors. Tudyk was so convincing in the role, it was hard not to hate him. Then of course, there's the legendary Harrison Ford as Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, the man who helped break the color barrier by deciding to sign Robinson. I didn't realize just how old Harrison Ford is until I saw him in this. He was almost unrecognizable, and really disappeared in his role. At 71 years old, he still looks good for his age though.

It was great to see how his teammates went from signing a petition against him playing with them to gradually accepting and respecting him. The only problem I had with the film was that it ended very abruptly. I was shocked when the concluding notes of what happened to all the characters started rolling, as they typically do in films based on true stories. I felt like they stopped telling his story too early. Aside from that, I was very impressed with the film's authenticity and honest portrayal of the characters and time period.

"42" has already proved to be a hit. It opened at number one at the box office, and it broke some records for baseball-themed movies. At $9.1 million, it had the best opening day ever, and at $27.3 million, it had the best opening weekend. This will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest baseball movies of all time. In my book, it's right up there with "The Sandlot" and "A League of Their Own." What's great about "42" is that it's far more than just a baseball movie. It's a movie about overcoming obstacles, staying strong during difficult times, believing in yourself, and standing up for what is right.
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A better than average sports biography
moviescoundrel18 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Robinson starts playing for the Montreal Royals who are an affiliate AAA team of the Brooklyn Dodgers. There is of course animosity among players and residents, but he rises above, keeps his cool and plays well. The following year, he gets a shot with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The manager (Christopher Meloni) tells Rickey he doesn't care about color, he'll keep anyone who will help him win, and send home his own brother if someone can play better. I really enjoyed Meloni's short performance and really wish he was in the film more. Unfortunately, due to some lifestyle choices, Meloni is fired and an older, non-charismatic manager fills in who basically is non-existent in the process or the rest of the movie, very strange. Robinson makes the team, makes people upset, strengthens the resiliency of those who look up to him and are faced with similar challenges, and diminishes the color barrier in major league baseball.

The pros were the scenes during the baseball games. They were amazing. The field, bases, players, etc., were wonderfully shot and you obviously didn't feel like you were watching a game that took place in the 40's. I did wish we saw Robinson hit the ball more. I know that many pitchers walked him or hit him, but he was a great hitter, and they don't even show him hitting a ball until the third time we see him in a baseball game. The scenes with him running/stealing the bases were shot well and suspenseful; the sound and music during the game were also very good.......

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Good but not Great
Shaun (shaunob11)24 August 2013
I have got to admit, I went into this movie with very high hopes. Having done well at the Box Office, and with myself being a real sucker for a good Sports flick, I was more than excited to give this movie a watch.

Having just finished watching it, I must say that I am severely disappointed in the films final product. Now don't get me wrong, there are plenty of positive aspects to this film- I think it was excellently made, had spectacular Cinematography (if you get a chance to see it in BluRay instead of DVD, I would highly recommend it), and had put together a very solid Cast of Actors. However, where this film falls short is in its Depth, both in characters and story.

With such a dramatic topic at its disposal, the movie seldom dives deeper than the kiddy pool. Instead of a hard-hitting look at all the extremely powerful, emotional, and impactful events that surrounded Jackie Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodgers and MLB as a whole, we are given a PG "everything is roses in the end" cream puff of a movie. Powerful moments seldom occur and character depth is severely lacking. With a story that had SOO MUCH potential going into it, it's truly disappointing to see the end product, so devoid of impact.

Overall it's a decent movie about a phenomenal story, but unfortunately it's shortcomings far outweigh its breakthroughs.
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Well executed film!
Ari_ari12 April 2013
This film deserves every accolade it has coming, and many will come. The quiet strength that frames the film makes for a solid execution from start to finish. There isn't a single moment to be taken away or added. Chadwick Boseman's attention to detail and firm grasp on Robinson's control as well as Harrison Ford's masterful portrayal of Rickey's unapologetic force create a dynamic energy that pushes the film forward in every single scene. The entire supporting cast brought an authenticity to the time period in addition to the overall feel of the film. Together the cast creates the right balance of social discourse, raw emotion, humility, and dignity that makes this film a must see!
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Follows the formula, but doesn't add any zest to it.
diac22823 October 2013
42 is the cinematic equivalent of a great hitter smashing a double—but not even considering going to third base even if he had a slight chance.

42 is an entertaining movie. It is motivating. It has all the qualities of your inspiring American story about an individual rising up against the ranks and accomplishing their far-fetched goals. The Rocky formula was nicely dropped on the Jackie Robinson story as this legendary player had to go up against layers of racism within the sport of baseball while also dealing with his team's tough pennant race. The movie had the personality that makes it immediately likable. You can't dislike this movie. You honestly can't.

The cast is good. The cinematography is good. The production value is grand. The effort is clearly here. All the cylinders are working.

But in spite of all this, 42 doesn't attempt to go the next step. This movie plays it extremely safe. It is a rough rated-R story that became condensed and watered-down to a PG-13 flick. It dabbles into the surface of racism, but doesn't dwell too deep. It only covers his early days, and doesn't cover the aftermath and his later years. The problems didn't exactly go away just because he survived his first year. Jackie Robinson's entire career was met with resistance. Some can argue he died younger because of all the stress associated with being the controversial pioneer.

What bogs this movie the most is that we have seen it all before, as sad as it sounds. He even starred in his own documentary back in the 1950s for crying out loud. A good movie will accurately portray the drama; but a great movie will make you practically experience it. It is this element that makes the World War II flick Thin Red Line a good movie, and Saving Private Ryan the one that represents and dominates the genre.

So 42 will entertain you and will make you root for the lead characters, but don't expect it to add anything new to the table.
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A solid 7, but somehow cliché, Baseball Movies should retire!
MahaFilmGuru4 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
We have seen just so many baseball films come out, like Major League with Charlie Sheen, or Babe, and countless others. Although this covers new ground with the element of racism, the plot is altogether too familiar to get past a 7 for entertainment value.

I really enjoyed Harrison Ford's speeches, but in a nutshell the plot is just too simple. A black man joins the major leagues for the first time, plays good, some white people angry, and he sticks it through. Sure there were some side plots, especially near the beginning, but they have been unnecessary. What this film needed was some good old formulaic tension on the baseball field. Sure they gave us glimpses, but we need a whole game. Like in Major League where in the end they have to play a long final game. I thought this movie was going to go there, but no, they just cut to the credits and gave us some interesting history.

Anyways, quality film, but there are much more entertaining baseball films out there. This film could have been much darker, and I think by sugar coating the struggle of Jackie Robinson they eluded an 8 or a 9 rating.
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A noble, but safe biopic of a baseball legend
Samiam317 August 2013
42 has a handful of memorable scenes, a credible period feel, and moments of compelling acting; but somehow, the picture as a whole falls a little short of a home run.

The word I would use to describe 42 is 'safe'. While I wasn't looking for an Oliver Stone, hit-me-over-the-head with brutal honesty kind of motion picture, I found the drama of 42 to be a little bit muted. This is a respectable and educational bio-pic for a mass audience; but strong film making, it is not.

There is another problem I had. Harrison Ford gives a hammy and unconvincing performance that borders on caricature. Everyone else in the cast performs very naturally, while Ford relies more on overly theatrical mannerisms than emotion to give us a character.

42 seems a little bit short in length for comfort. It is obvious that certain scenes were cut, scenes which I would have liked to see. For example the relationship between Robinson and his wife is virtually non existent. He proposes to her in the first act, and their chemistry pretty much ends there. The film chose a good place to end its story arc, (when taking real history into account) but the ending itself feels a little rushed.

42 is a noble film, and a mostly accurate one. It is a film that many people aught to see, but not all of them will like. I believe that the story of Jackie Robinson deserved a bit more dramatic momentum and a bit less sentimentality than Brian Helgelands bio pic provides. This is a medium good film, that should have been a great one.
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Heart-breaking truth.
weis9812214 April 2013
For me "42" was two hours of stomach-in-my-throat intensity and emotions. Dramatic and truthful conveyance of racism -- the Phillies manager gave a brilliant exhibition of the American racist "everyman." The Jim Crow of the late 1940's was around my birth, twenty years later John Steinbeck's reporting on the "cheerleaders" of Louisiana was similar gut-wrenching racist hatred and abuse of innocent children, and today -- voter disenfranchisement and "Deport Obama" bumper stickers. This movie is hard to watch -- truth that we want to disown is hard to watch. An exceptional piece of work. Many will criticize it for being histrionic and exaggerated. I wish it were; it's not. If you're my age you will see people in "42" that you've known. You will see a disease that has been pandered to politically throughout our lifetime. I would love to say that "42" gives us an historic perspective on just how far we've come since 1947. Yes -- it gives an accurate depiction of MLB in that era -- and that has changed. But the lump in your throat will not come from how we've changed, but from how we haven't.
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42 Is An Inspirational Film
Desertman8416 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
42 is a biographical sports film about the life of baseball player Jackie Robinson, who wore jersey number 42. The film stars Chadwick Boseman as Robinson together with Harrison Ford,Christopher Meloni,John C. McGinley, T. R. Knight,Lucas Black and Nicole Beharie.It was written and directed by Brian Helgeland.

It tells the story of two men - the great Jackie Robinson and legendary Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey,whose brave stand against prejudice forever changed the world by changing the game of baseball. In 1946, Branch Rickey put himself at the forefront of history when he signed Jackie Robinson,who became the first African-American player to break the baseball color barrier to the team and also breaking Major League Baseball's infamous color line. But the deal also put both Robinson and Rickey in the firing line of the public, the press and even other players. Facing unabashed racism from every side, Robinson was forced to demonstrate tremendous courage and restraint by not reacting in kind, knowing that any incident could destroy his and Rickey's hopes. Instead, Robinson let his talent on the field do the talking-ultimately winning over fans and his teammates, silencing his critics, and paving the way for others to follow.

This story inspires and entertains with a vital chapter in this nation's history.It is a compelling, uplifting story about two men who deserve to be remembered.In addition to that,it is a compelling, uplifting story about two men who deserve to be remembered. This isn't a film filled with lights-shattering home runs like The Natural and the awkward dramatic devices are kept to a minimum.There's plenty of period action for the baseball fan, from a recreation of Ebbets Field to John C. McGinley's sterling Red Barber impersonation. Jackie is seen on the diamond, tormenting pitchers by dangling off the bases, forever threatening to steal the next bag.Also,it is really about the sport. This is a movie about a man who put on his uniform each day, stepped up to the plate and did his job at significant physical risk, in the face of hateful taunts, vicious threats and profound isolation. It's the stuff that history is made of.Definitely,an inspirational film that everyone should see.
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"42" many movies in one
Jim Fordyce14 April 2013
by Jim Fordyce AmericanEntertainmentReport.com Rating: 4 out of Fordyce (Perfect)

When I was a sophomore in high school. I got to meet the great Jackie Robinson. Shortly before his death in 1972, he spoke at our high school in the New York suburbs. He was there with his wife, Rachel, and as brief as out encounter was, I came away remembering two things: I had just met a great man and I had just met a great woman who was in love with him.

Now, in 2013, we can all learn about Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color barrier in major league baseball. This movies is the best I have seen this year. It is a baseball pic, a biopic, a social studies lesson, and a love story all rolled neatly into 128 minutes.

A good script means this movie is fast-paced, human, and accurate. It tells the story of how Jackie became the first black major league baseball player. You learn what everybody's motives were and just how odd something we accept as commonplace was in a post-World War II America. We also learn that many would not accept the future of the USA as it was playing out before their eyes.

This is all done without being preachy. A great cast brings this script to life. Chadwick Boseman is Jackie Robinson, while Nicole Beharie is superb as Rachel Robinson. I loved Christopher Meloni as Leo Durocher and Lucas Black as Pee Wee Reese. John C. McGinley played the Red Barber I remember growing up (although he had moved on to other teams by then), and look for an Oscar nomination for Harrison Ford as Dodger owner Branch Rickey.

Do yourself a favor and head for a theater near you and see why this movie gets a perfect 4 out of Fordyce.

Credit Check: Nothing happens after the credits.
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"42" is a class act
filmmaster2800015 April 2013
This country has been racist and prejudice for years to minorities. But in that "great American pastime" baseball, it was just a "white-only" club. "Negroes" as we were called back then (and still now)who had talent could never get a chance to play in the big league , had the Negro baseball league. to play in.

Then on April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American baseball player. to be on the all white Brooklyn Dodgers. "42" tells the story of Jackie Robinson being signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers by team executive Branch Rickey and how it was a real challenge during his rookie season as a Brooklyn Dodgers player.

I felt the film was done well with good directing by Brian Helgeland who also wrote the screenplay. He let his cast act and it shows in their performances. I liked Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson. Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey. Nicole Behanie as Rachel Robinson, and Andre Holland as Wendell Smith. These four were real standouts and I just enjoyed watching them do their roles.

I felt the performances of Lucas Black, Christopher Meloni, Ryan Merriman, Alan Tudyl, John C. McGinley, T.R. Knight, James Pickens Jr., Gino Anthony Pesi, and Matt Clark were good ones that added to the film.

"42" for me was a powerful and superb film that everyone should see, even if you are not a baseball fan. It looks at a period in our country where stupidity was running amuck in not treating people with respect, fairness, and looking at their color first. Two men started something that would change our lives for the better and thank God that that!!!!!
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