Movie Review: 42

42, a biopic about the famous Dodgers baseball legend Jackie Robinson, tells the story of Robinson's struggles and achievements as he works to break the color barrier in the sport of white baseball. At his side, is the Dodgers' executive Branch Rickey, played by the actor legend, Harrison Ford. Rickey, who aides Jackie however he possibly can, successfully manages to get Robinson's name on the roster for the Brooklyn Dodgers. After joining the team, Robinson is quickly pushed into a corner of discrimination as players refuse to play with him and threaten to hurt him and his family. Ricky tells Jackie he must control his temper in order to survive on the team, meaning he must withstand the threats and verbal abuse from his teammates and also from other teams. As Robinson powers through, ignoring the abuse all he can by simply playing his very best, he quickly escalates up to becoming a very important key in the Dodgers' winning streak.

42 is just what 2013 needed. A good, whole-hearted film about an American legend who broke the color barrier as the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball. Last year, another biopic by the name of Lincoln scooped up a lot of awards in Oscar season, showing the life of the famous 16th President. This year, I believe that 42 can do the exact same thing once the Oscars roll around. Yes, there will be more contenders like there always are (The Great Gatsby), but I think this one is award-worthy enough.

This film was full of grit, heart, and some clever brains. Leading the show was newcomer, Chadwick Boseman, who played the strong-willed legend Jackie Robinson. Boseman overall convinced me that he was Robinson throughout the film, with his toughened look and his clever remarks. As a newcomer, he showed the audience that not only Presidents and important CIA operatives (Ben Affleck in Argo) could make it to the big screen in a biopic. With a story as legendary as this, it was always meant to be seen at the movies, with crowds of adults, teens, and even kids sitting there amazed by the color-barrier demolisher that was Jackie Robinson. 

Another character that I liked in this film was the grouchy old-timer, Branch Rickey, played by the Han Solo/ Indiana Jones actor Harrison Ford. I've always loved Ford as an actor, portraying brave and noble heroes wielding both whip and blaster. But in this film, he turns down a new road that I've never seen him go: playing the funny old-timer who just wants the job done. Ford shows a new side of himself as he pushes Robinson to strive to make the team, while also leading Robinson down a path of acceptance and temper-free thinking. Ford showed me that he could make a come-back after (almost) ending his career as a on-screen archeologist. Maybe it is time to hang up the Fedora and bullwhip and move on to better things, but that's just my opinion. Either way, Ford stole the show, but left the center stage open wide for the leading man Chadwick Boseman. 

Overall, this film was excellent in showing how discrimination was like in the 1940's. The struggles of Jackie Robinson, along with almost every other African-American, were portrayed amazingly in this film, showing how if you commit to what you believe in, you can strive to get it as long as you have help and support from the people who care about you the most. Robinson's story encouraged many people to reach for their dreams, while also hanging on to the ones you love and the ones that push you forward.

I gave this film a 9 out of 10, because it was amazingly written, had great actors for the roles, and showed how a hero rose to Major League fame in a time of great desperation. Jackie Robinson's story will live on forever as discrimination in sports, like baseball, will always be drastically different.

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