Inspirational sports movies are the best. There’s something about watching an oppressed underdog beat the odds to become a revered member of society and live happily ever after that really gets the tears flowing.
“42,” directed by Brian Helgeland, follows along these emotional, “Remember the Titans”-esque lines. We all know the story: Working through many physical and emotional hardships, Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) becomes the first African-American man to play on a Major League Baseball team, breaking the sport’s strict racial barriers. This film is beautifully written and crafted in a way that defies potential predictability and leaves the audience with an emotional roller coaster never before experienced while sitting stationary in a chair.
Of course, I need to give credit where it’s due. No film can successfully establish a passionate plot line without terrific acting, and that’s exactly what “42” brings to the plate (pun intended). Boseman, basically a no-name prior to the film, will be on plenty of director’s most-wanted lists for a long time coming. Harrison Ford, who plays Branch Rickey, the Dodger’s executive, is so good that you’ll forget who Han Solo and Indiana Jones are for the whole 128 minutes.
Jackie Robinson is an important historical figure, which makes “42” an important movie. However, baseball is not for everyone, and the film really only targets a specific crowd. Just like science fiction haters skipped out on “Star Wars,” baseball haters may want to skip “42.” All in all though, it's indisputable that this movie is a swell one.