Brian Helgeland’s historical sports drama/biopic 42 relates the historic 1947 baseball season in which Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) decides to sign the first black Major League player, Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman). Although Robinson faces ugly, vicious racism from other clubs, fans, and on occasion his own teammates, Rickey encourages him to not fight back. By following that advice, Robinson allows his remarkable athletic talent to speak for itself, and soon the first-year player becomes one the most popular players on the team, eventually securing the Rookie of the Year award. Christopher Meloni and Hamish Linklater co-star.
“Robinson is played by Chadwick Boseman….The actor brings real force and dignity to the part, as well as a fierceness that will not be pushed around.” (Los Angeles Times)
3 stars out of 4 — “John C. McGinley delivers a gem of a performance as the great announcer Red Barber, and Andre Holland is solid as Wendell Smith…” (Chicago Sun-Times)
3 stars out of 4 — “[A] stirring, straightforward and ultimately soaring portrayal of Robinson’s historic entry into Major League Baseball in 1947.” (Washington Post)
“[The movie] picks a winner in Chadwick Boseman….Boseman shrewdly eases into the role.” (Rolling Stone)
“For all its wholesomely uplifting design, 42 makes Jackie Robinson’s struggle against racism look every bit as brutal and scary as it was.” — Grade: B+ (Entertainment Weekly)