Sports has always been more than just guys playing a game! The cultural and national effects they have help us forget bad situations (1980 US hockey 'Miracle On Ice'), made us think the best of people (Roberto Clemente dying while providing humanitarian aid) and more recent, having sports help us heal in the state of Massachusetts following the Boston Marathon bombing.
But nothing compares to the lasting effect that Jackie Robinson had on not only baseball, but the United States and quite possibly the world.
'42' is the story of Jackie Robinson and his struggles and obstacles he had to endure during his rookie season, being the first black player to play in the Major Leagues. The film, like most bio picks has its slow moments, but that is overcome by some moving moments, great baseball action and some powerful acting by Chadwick Boseman (Robinson), Andre Holland (reporter Wendell Smith) and Harrison Ford as the legendary Branch Rickey.
The film does an incredible job at dealing with the racial slurs hurled Robinson's way. None are more emotional than the 'legendary' moment when Philadelphia Philies manager Ben Chapman came out of the dugout and said some horrific things to Robinson as he tried to bat. This scene was so uncomfortable to watch because I can't fathom how anyone could treat another human being that way. Congrats to Alan Tudyk (Firefly / Suburgatory) for pulling it off with such realism.
Director Brian Helgeland did a fantastic job with the entire film; casting, pacing and period accuracy. There are a few things that may not be historically accurate (bat smashing in the runway scene) but sometimes you need to do things to move the story a bit or to create a mood and he certainly did just that.
'42' is not just another baseball movie like Jackie Robinson wasn't just another baseball player. '42' is a historical account of that time in the late 1940's when America began to change for the better!
Matman Rating: 5 out of 5 more reasons not to like the Philies!