42: The story of Jackie Robinson – I’m going to start off this review by telling you, our lovely readers, that I am a baseball fan. Whether if that biases my opinion on
the film at hand, sure but then again this movie is far beyond JUST baseball.
I’d like to break this review down into some very simple things but honestly, my feelings towards this movie will cause this review to be a little scattered, simply because there is so much to talk about.
Firstly, this cast. My God, this cast. Amazing casting for this film began when Indiana Jones star Harrison Ford was cast as Branch Ricky the slightly eccentric, methodist and moral owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Even more amazing was the new comer who played Jackie Robinson, Chadwick Boseman, who I believe will be on a climb to even greater roles and become a household name. The rest of this cast unveils itself into a beautiful harmony of existence. I was most intrigued by the camaraderie of the players with Jackie, how strongly each actor took their role and showed the progression of thought for each player as they accepted or rejected him. The dynamic between Owner Ricky and Robinson cast a light of true insight to the struggle of breaking a color barrier, and also the caliber of both actors Ford and Boseman. I applaud female casting director Victoria Thomas, for getting together this large group of talented and brilliant actors to accurately portray the life of a brave and inspiring man.
Boseman, although not new to Hollywood having played many small parts in various TV shows and even day time television soap operas, electrifies the screen with his personality and wit. Bringing to life the legend that is Jackie Robinson. With every stolen base, with every smile, with every painful sigh and slur thrown his way Boseman, perfectly, eloquently and exceptionally emotes his character. I would deem him the next Denzel Washington in speaking of the next great African-American actor, Boseman brought life to his character, and showered the audience with simply wondrous performance.
This was all culminating on an astounding screenplay, in which scenes filled with poignance and inspiration had the audience in the theater cheering and hollering support, and at times crying alongside the actors struggle. This movie will easily move you, it will also make you laugh. Cleverly adding humor to scenes you thought would remain somber and low, the script for this film allows the laughter and creates a sense of comfort that I haven’t felt in a theater in a long time. For something that was such a taboo subject, color, the race war, this screenplay accurately depicts the trials and tribulations while celebrating the wins and successes of Jackie Robinson and his team.
The cinematography of this film, was so stunning that at one point as a pitch was coming towards Jackie Robinson, I instinctively from nearly 12 years of playing softball moved out of the way of the pitch at the same time he did. That is literally the quality of this film, beautiful sets from each baseball diamond, to the Brooklyn streets.
You should know one thing reader, this is not just a film about color. It is a film about so much more, it’s about the people in support, the change of a nation, and it is absolutely about the love for the game of baseball. One of the best scenes in the film is between Ricky and Robinson as they discuss the reason Mr.Ricky wanted to hire the first African-American baseball player to a major league team, it is moving and it has one of the best lines, “you made me love baseball again Jackie, you did that.” (I may not have that verbatim but you get the point).
As for whether or not if you should see this film, my answer is a huge yes. I’ve recommended it to every sports fan, every person I’ve seen really. Even if you aren’t that into baseball heading into this film, you will be when you leave. And whether if you are cheering for the Dodgers, or the Padres this season I don’t think you will look at a baseball diamond the same ever again.