42: The True Story of an American Legend
Directed by: Brian Helgeland
Warner Brothers Pictures
In Theaters April 12, 2013
Reviewed by: Hasan James
Let me start by saying “42” is a movie for the entire family. The story of Jackie Robinson in the beginning stages of his career in baseball, is one of courage, determination and heroics. Being a native of the greatest city in the world, New York City was a melting pot of many different nationalities growing up in the 1980’s. Legends like Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry and Reggie Jackson were household names and that was due to the struggles and sacrifices of one Jack Roosevelt Robinson.
Academy award nominee, Harrison Ford, gave an Oscar worthy performance for his portrayal of Branch Rickey, a high level executive who courageously drafted Jackie Robinson, a black man, to the “All White” Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. 30 year-old actor, Chadwick Boseman, brilliantly portrays Jackie Robinson as the first negro to ever play major league baseball at a time where integration was not even a thought. Jackie Robinson, who hailed from California, was not accustomed to segregation that the North and South practiced, however, he was soon reminded of the hatred that existed from opposing teams and even his fellow Brooklyn Dodgers.
“42” is a well written and produced film that will have you glued to the movie screen from start to finish. Although it is definitely a movie for the family, the use of the “N” word is a bit excessive, not “Django Unchained” excessive but certainly more than a few times. Albeit not for dramatic effect, Robinson really endured the senseless bigotry that “America the Beautiful” displayed smack dead in the middle of the 20th century.
Jackie Robinson is is an American hero not only because he was the first man of color to play in the big leagues, he actually played the game better than most. That is why every April 15th, every Major League baseball player wears #42 proudly on their back. 66 years ago, Jackie Robinson not only changed the face of baseball, he changed the face of a nation. Before there was a Benjamin Carson, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey or Barack Obama, there was #42.