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In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) put himself at the forefront of history when he signed Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to the team, breaking Major League Baseball's infamous color line. Facing unabashed racism from every side, Robinson was forced to demonstrate tremendous courage and restraint by not reacting, instead letting 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. In 1997, Major League Baseball retired the number 42 for all teams, making it the first number in sports to be universally retired.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 166
- Fresh: 130
- Rotten: 36
- Average Rating: 6.8/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: Robinson's story had so much drama in real life, and his sacrifice and pain made such a lasting influence, that "42" ends up being effective in its gee-whiz way almost in spite of itself.
Fresh: A square, uninventive, but detailed and stirring bio-pic devoted to the two years in an athlete's life that changed a nation.
Fresh: An inspiring, old-school biopic that doesn't pull any punches in depicting the ugly racism that Jackie Robinson faced on a daily basis as the first African-American player in Major League Baseball.
Rotten: In the hallowed frames of 42, the legend is front and centre and still inspiring. Too bad the more interesting man is nowhere to be seen.
THIS INSPIRATIONAL SPORTS DRAMA IS A HOME RUN!
The whole historical sports biopic genre has been done to death in the movies for years now, so it was only a matter of time before somebody went ahead and made a film about the legendary baseball great himself, Jackie Robinson. And when I first heard the news, I had my doubts. Would "42" end up being a sappy, misinformed melodrama that was easily willing to take sides, or a rousing, earnest tribute to one of America's greatest sports icons? Luckily, the latter outcome was the case (at least for the most part), and surprisingly enough, I found myself enjoying just about every minute of it. This film takes us all the way back to the historic 1947 baseball season in which Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) decides to boldly break Major League Baseball's infamous color line by signing the very first black player, Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman). Although Robinson faces ugly, vicious forms of racism from other clubs, fans, and, on occasion, even his own teammates, Rickey simply encourages him not to fight back. By following that advice, Jackie allows his remarkable athletic talent to speak for itself, ultimately winning over new fans and his fellow players while silencing his critics in the process. It isn't long before he easily becomes the most popular player on the team, eventually securing the Rookie of the Year award and paving the way for others to follow. What makes the movie really come together isn't the script or even the story itself, but rather the exceptionally talented cast that help bring life to their historically significant characters. Boseman, in particular, is absolutely terrific as Robinson. He effortlessly sinks into the role, providing the famed baseball hero with a strong sense of physical and emotional strength, making him both entirely believable and genuinely sympathetic throughout. What's even more impressive is that this is Boseman's first lead performance in any film, and based on how great he is in this movie, I can just imagine where his acting career will take him from here. Ford, while not quite as much of a consistent standout as his co-star, is also memorable as the crotchety but sincere Branch Rickey, who mostly acts as Robinson's personal trusted advisor. With his deadpan wit and brash charisma, Ford's character provides some unexpected comic relief and even a few great words of wisdom, making him one of the veteran actor's more enjoyable roles in recent years. As for the rest of the cast, they're all prominently featured enough in the film to at least stand out from one another. Nicole Beharie gives a nice performance as Rachel Robinson, Jackie's wife, as does Andre Holland in a slightly smaller supporting role as a journalist for a black newspaper. Even some of the other players on Robinson's team get their chance to shine, although not always in a positive light. But of course, there's more to this flick than just the acting. The 1940s-era set pieces are expertly crafted and detailed, the fast-paced baseball sequences are wonderfully executed and hugely entertaining to watch, and the nostalgic soundtrack captures the essence of the time almost perfectly. And then there's the story, which, I'll admit, does have its big ups and downs. On one hand, it works because it never loses sight of its main subject and the countless adversities he faced as he dared to make an impact in an era ruled by bigotry and prejudice. But at the same time, the film tends to play things a little too safe by following a mostly predictable "paint-by-the-numbers" route that feels a bit more contrived than realistic. Plus, there are the slightly problematic but easily redeemable issues of inconsistent pacing and clichéd dialogue. But at the end of the day, the good in "42" more than outweighs the bad. Writer-director Brian Helgeland manages to tackle the themes of racism, oppression, and perseverance with a sharp eye for detail and authenticity, and although his filmmaking approach isn't exactly groundbreaking, it's the powerful, deeply raw emotions that emanate from nearly every performance and scene that easily makes this one of the most surprisingly compelling biopics in recent years. Sure, it isn't the most historically accurate picture you'll ever see, and the script does have its fair share of plot holes here and there, but thanks to its well-assembled cast, earnestly told story, and inspirational message of overcoming adversity, "42" ultimately stands as a respectful Hollywood tribute to the influential man who changed Major League Baseball forever. If you're a fan of sports films or if you simply want to watch an old-fashioned, exceptionally acted American drama that'll leave you feeling satisfied, this beautifully filmed biopic is worth your time.
An Inspirational Journey to Change
This is an amazing sports drama that has you hooked from the start. It draws you in and keeps you in. Taking a light religious turn instead of a political view is what gives this movie heart. I Highly recommend this movie to ALL ages. Open your mind & your heart and put yourself in Jackie's shoes for a day❤⚾
The film "42" matches the level of information with the level of a great film. A documentary can get plenty of information across, but I prefer to watch an actual event reenacted on screen. "42" not only displays Jackie Robinson's baseball career, but it shows his personal life as well. This film enhances things that weren't thought about when thinking of jackie robinson. It brings a new light on the subject of the beloved baseball star. The greatest thing to see in this film was the support and disapproval from every individual that had an interaction with Jackie. This film also brings in character development. You'll see characters that change and characters that don't change. It keeps everything balanced and realistic. There are some characters that don't change mentally, but have to realize that they must accept. The only thing that I was a little disappointed on was the ending; I was looking for more of a conclusion not a lead on. A lead on to me is the lazy way to do an ending, but thats just my opinion. "42" consist of inspiration, realism, and a well balanced development.
"42" tells the tale of Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) starting with his early days playing in an African baseball club. Thanks to the Brooklyn Dodgers executive (Harrison Ford) Jackie will be the first African baseball player. The story of the Dodgers goes throughout the film while also focusing on Jackie's personal life and obstacles from racism.
A film like this doesn't have much of a plot; more of an event happening in front of you. Although well done; it is highly comparable to 2008's "The Express" (African football player changing the game with his fight against racism). As far as being original this film this film has already been done before. As the film itself it is worth watching and entertaining. This film is another great installment of a recall on the fight against racism type franchise. Jackie Robinson is seen through a whole new way with this film. That makes all the more reason to watch it. "42" will entertain, inspire, and make you feel good.
- Genre: Drama
- Released: 2013
- © 2013 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Legendary Pictures Funding, LLC
- 42 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
- Various Artists