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People often incorrectly say sports have no true meaning in life. Tell that to Jackie Robinson and the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers.
The film “42” chronicles Robinson’s step into Major League Baseball, from the first pitch to the history-making home run in the pennant race his rookie season.
For those who don’t know much about baseball or history, Jackie Robinson broke segregation barriers when he stepped onto a major league field in 1947.
His accomplishment and skill in the game is so renowned in baseball that every April 15, “Jackie Robinson Day,” all major league players wear number 42 on their jerseys.
The movie shows the huge stress on the shoulders of the man who wore the famed number. It also shows the grace and dignity that man walked in under the face of prejudice and strife just to play the game he loved. But, as he said in the film, “God built me to last.” And his legacy lasted even when his time on the field was over.
“42” shows a movie can be about something meaningful without an in-your-face approach or without containing a harsh or angry tone. This film tells the story of a remarkable man and the people and events surrounding his accomplishment. It moves viewers because the subject of the movie is remarkable and all filmmakers needed to do is tell his story.
Chadwick Boseman (“The Express”) took the famous number on his shoulders and plays Robinson well. It also is refreshing to see Harrison Ford (“Cowboys & Aliens”) play Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey and take on a character role that shines beyond his Hollywood status.
Another refreshing piece to this film is it not only does not back down from what Robinson went through, but also expresses how the Robinson’s faith and Rickey’s motivation helped them.
Many of the other players on the team during this first season struggled with what was going on around them. Some supported Robinson, some eventually supported him and some, sadly, never did. The supporting cast expressed all these emotions well, especially Lucas Black (“Promised Land”) who played Kentucky’s own Pee Wee Reese.
The film is well acted and the scenery, costuming and music bring audiences back to the sights and sounds of a ballpark in the 1940s.
Robinson was there to play a game but, through his game, made history with every stolen base and home run.
For the history of what Robinson’s accomplishments or for the love of baseball, this film is one to watch.