Wednesday, April 24 2013, 02:20 AM MDT
Movie Review: 42
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director • Brian Helgeland
Starring • Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie
Rated • PG-13
Recommended to • Baseball fans, historians and anyone who enjoyed “The Help.”
Two years in the life of Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) as Brooklyn Dodger executive Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) decides to break the baseball color barrier.
“42” is pretty much the film I expected it to be. It touches on the hardships and danger faced by Jackie Robinson as he became the first African American to play professional baseball in the major leagues, but it is less about the constant threat of violence and more about the feel-good ending. Still, even the watered down racism that the film does contain is pretty horrific in and of itself. This isn’t Spike Lee’s Jackie Robinson biopic; it’s a softer and kinder version that still manages to pay a decent tribute to Robinson.
Boseman is quite good as Robinson and Ford truly seems to enjoy himself as stubborn old man Rickey. The supporting players aren’t given much to work with as their various histories are brushed over in favor of giving Robinson’s story the entire spotlight.
Director/writer Brian Helgeland relies a bit too much on sentimentality when he should simply trust the strength of the story to deliver the inspirational message. The story also feels a bit rushed which, considering the film is two hour long, shouldn’t be the case. Maybe Robinson’s story really needs to be made into a miniseries. I’d love to see what HBO could do with Robinson’s tale.
-Ryan Michael Painter