42 Hits Three Bases, Not a Home Run

42 is the story of Jackie Robinson and the breaking of baseball’s colour barrier. It’s a compelling movie that lacks much nuance or subtlety, saved by its timeless message and powerful themes.

42-movieRobinson, played by Chadwick Boseman, was a California farm hand who became the first African-American to play major league baseball. The movie chronicles his rise from the Negro Leagues to the Brooklyn Dodgers‘ National League championship in 1947, all the while struggling with the rampant racism of post-war America.


 

42


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Overall Rating:
Opens: April 12, 2013
Running time: 128 minutes
Genre: Drama/Historical

42 does not hold back the taunts and slurs that Robinson faced both from on the field and from the stands. Boseman delivers a fine performance as the iron skinned ball player, an isolated figure resolved to not fight back. He does a good job capturing Robinson’s quiet courage, displaying the utmost grace under pressure.

The movie takes a heavy-handed approach to creating its historical tone, from its near-sepia colouring to the swelling violin soundtrack. As well, it’s written with such an incredible sense of earnestness, unusual in this day and age.

Harrison Ford plays a strong Branch Rickey, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers and a man desperate to win. He carries the movie at times, pulling it back from its deepest moments of ardent sincerity.

For whatever directorial miscues there may be, the story itself is strong enough to keep the movie enjoyable and entertaining. It’s a remarkable piece highlighting the power of the human spirit. Jackie Robinson endured more than any man ought to, all so he could play baseball. 42 is a great family movie with a powerful message. It won’t be any award but is definitely worth the price of admission.

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