Movie Review: 42, The True Story of an American Legend

42 tells much inspiring story of Jackie Robinson with much emotion, corniness

Sitting in an integrated movie theater, laughing at the bigoted racists and cheering with Jackie Robinson really captures how far America has come since that time.

Jackie Robinson, the protagonist of the movie, was the first african-american baseball player to penetrate the segregated major leagues at the start of the Civil Rights movement.

Everything about 42 resembles a vintage Hollywood sports flick – the underdog grabs the fame, and the antagonist, who everyone loves to hate, walks away ashamed. Of course, no baseball film is complete without the cliché slow-motion home run followed by a triumphant jog around the bases with the crowd roaring in the background.

The focus on Robinson’s hardships was a bright spot in the movie. It is tough to imagine exactly what the man went through, but the movie definitely captures his struggles, from being separated from his team because of discriminatory Jim Crow laws to listening to constant racial slurs and boos as he steps up to bat.

The highlight of the movie came during dialogue between Chadwick Boseman (Jackie Robinson) and Harrison Ford (Branch Rickey). The two formed a dynamic player-owner relationship throughout the movie, while Ford also played well into the hardball front desk executive role.

One would also have to look hard to find a more played up shower scene in a movie (excluding, of course, Hitchcock’s “Psycho”). Robinson, who showered separate from his team for most of the movie, finally joins his teammates in a moment symbolic of Robinson’s story of integration as a whole.

42 which tells the story of Jackie Robinson, is inspirational and historic, but the addition of typical Hollywood crowd-pleasers such as epic speeches and predictable romance takes away from the main story about a prominent figure for baseball in the fight against racial discrimination.

The overplayed climactic moments and corny dialogue proved to be the underlying issue. The audience could have done without events such as Robinson’s ease in stealing bases and hitting home runs. The fact is, Robinson hit 12 home runs and stole 29 bases during the season in which the movie is filmed, which is impressive for a rookie, but certainly not deserving of its godly athletic portrayal throughout the film.

Cheering for Robinson was no challenge in this dramatic movie as we viewed him deal discrimination while maintaining his integrity and composure. 42 has to be taken with a grain of salt — the cheesiness can ruin the movie only if it is allowed to. Though nothing stands out as groundbreaking and nothing truly distinguishes it from any other sports movie, we recommend to see the movie to experience the story of a true American hero.

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