Sunday, August 25, 2013
42 (2013) - Written and Directed by Brian Helgeland; Starring Chadwick Boseman, Nicole Beharie, T.R. Knight, Harrison Ford, Christopher Meloni, Lucas Black, John C. McGinley.
By Kenny Howell
I don't think I have ever recommended a movie based on good intentions, but that is kind of what I am doing with 42.
Jackie Robinson's story is unbelievably important, and it is great that a new generation of people get to know how he made his way into baseball, and how it changed the nation. But it is done in such a Hollywood glossed, occasionally silly way. Harrison Ford's over the top performance as Branch Rickey, which fit the movie, but was a bit much. Pee Wee Reese's relatives talking before the game very ridiculously about how many times Reese might get on base, then revealing the horrible racists that they are. I understand the point of the scene, racism is a learned belief, but it's poorly done. Just silly dialogue meant to enhance the already enormous respect we have for Robinson. That's not needed. His actions are enough to admire the man, we don't have to have everyone else in the movie tell us that. The movie is filled with those moments that seem more like a parody of a sports biopic than the biopic itself.
But there are moments that make it entertaining Hollywood gloss. Chadwick Boseman's performance as Robinson is one of them. He never overplays it like some of the rest of the cast, and his relationship with Rachel is one of the driving forces of the film, although I wish they would have gone deeper with that. The movie sticks pretty well to the true story as well, so it's nice to keep the history intact.
If you have kids that may not know the story of Robinson, or non-sports fans that aren't that familiar, this movie is pretty necessary because of the historical importance. If you are familiar with the story, you can probably take it or leave it.