by Jesse Finver
After multiple failed attempts from directors such as Spike Lee and Robert Redford to create a film that would do Jackie Robinson’s story justice, Writer/Director Brian Helgeland finally nailed it.
The movie begins with President and General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), informing his employees that he will be signing an African American player to his team.
Ford, as he has done so often throughout his career, delivered a superb performance. Branch Rickey’s complex character is difficult to portray and Ford pulls it off with style, providing the audience with many inspirational quotes that seem neither cheesy nor stale.
Chadwick Boseman, who plays Robinson in the film, provides audiences with an excellent interpretation, capturing Robinson’s emotion and overall personality in his performance. Boseman plays Robinson as a quiet but fierce competitor who is also battling racial prejudices. The film does a wonderful job of showing his inner turmoil while he tries to endure constant racism on and off the field without fighting back.
Along with the performances, the script conveys Robinson’s achievements and hardships with great balance.
42 addresses the racism that Jackie Robinson had to deal with on a daily basis, and Helgeland andles the topic with care. However, what makes this film so great is that it goes beyond discussing blatant racism for the entire film and instead focuses on teaching and inspiring people with Robinson’s story.