Movie Review: '42'

Jackie Robinson was a man of considerable character, and Brooklyn Dodger's GM Branch Rickey was shrewd enough to recognize this when he chose Robinson for the  special project of breaking the race barrier in Major League Baseball almost 50 years ago.

Actor Harrison Ford's interpretation of Rickey in 42, which opened April 12, captures a shrewd businessman, a keen observer of human nature, a Methodist, and a thoroughly decent human being who knew what he was doing and where he was going when he signed Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946.

In the movie, Rickey tells Robinson he made the move for his love of the game as well as to redress an instance of racial abuse he witnessed years earlier but did nothing to correct at the time.

Actor Chadwick Boseman does an admirable job of interpreting Robinson as a man of integrity whose self-respect made enduring the insults of  the ignorant--in the form of teammates, team managers, gas station attendants, hotel managers, and Klansmen--a brutal challenge.

Watching "42" with my family--who range in age from 10 to 47--I thought it was both challenging and slow.  But my daughter helped me see that the pace of the movie made palpable feeling the challenges Rickey and Robinson faced.  Like Spielberg's Lincoln, Helgeland's "42" asks you to pay attention, think about the story, and feel for the main characters.  Unlike the apocolyptic,hyperactive CGI junk on offer in the previews, 42 offers the viewer to connect with the heroes; it requires some intellectual and emotional engagement with the problem; it is not a simple matter of siding with whomever remains standing.  Rather, it is a matter of understanding the story of the ones who stand up and stay standing for a principal and wanting to be there with them.

42 is a tough movie about two tough guys.  It was a great pleasure to stay with it and smile with Robinson when he smiled in the end--which is to say, when he had changed the world for the better.

42 offers a glimpse of the lives of Rickey and Robinson.  The movie is not a comprehensive biography of Rickey and Robinson but a glimpse.  It is enough.  In fact it is more than enough.  Watch it and see what's possible if you want to (as they say) be the change.


  1. I was wanting to see this so thank you for the review!

  2. sounds worthwhile to see...thanks

  3. I plan on seeing it. Jackie Robinson is a true hero.

    An Arkies Musings

  4. Great review, Sandy! Thanks for the info! Hope your weekend is going well!

  5. Hmm, this has really piqued my interest. I might have to see if I can go see it.

  6. I read somewhere that it was top of the box office for the weekend and the "experts" were surprised about that. Hopeful to think that those who make them may realize that there are potential movie-goers with brains.


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