'42' much moe than a baseball movie
Logan Qualls | writer
On April 15, 1947, the game of baseball was forever changed when Jackie Robinson started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers. By breaking through the color barrier in the major leagues, Robinson spurred monumental changes in both baseball and civil rights. The film “42” provides audiences a glimpse into the past of this American hero.
Focusing mainly on Robinson’s 1946 and 1947 seasons, the film begins with Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) discussing with his advisers his plan to bring up an African American to the major leagues.
After narrowing down a list of candidates, he decides on Jackie Robinson. Robinson at the time is playing ball in the Negro Leagues, with the Kansas City Monarchs.
While stopped at a gas station with his team, Robinson is approached by a scout from the Dodgers. Subsequently, Robinson goes to Brooklyn to meet with Branch Rickey who offers him a contract to play for the Dodgers.
With the offer, Rickey imparts a stipulation that Jackie cannot under any circumstances lose his temper.
Robinson accepts the offer, immediately calls his girlfriend, Rachel Isum (Nicole Beharie; “American Violet”) and proposes to her. She accepts and the two are happily married shortly thereafter.
After a successful spring training spent in Daytona, Fla., Robinson makes the cut for the 1946 season with the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers’ farm franchise.
With his growing success with the Royals and impressive spring training in Panama following the 1946 season, Robinson gets his chance to prove himself before the nation.
Battling racism from all angles, Robinson shows that he is up to the challenge and makes history by not only playing with the Dodgers, but also excelling in the Major League.
His accomplishments paved the way for other baseball teams to begin integration in the following seasons.
Chadwick Boseman delivers a stellar performance as Jackie Robinson, portraying the irrepressible spirit Robinson showed on and off the field.
Harrison Ford gives a strong supporting performance with his depiction of Branch Rickey. Ford’s performance showed the depth of love that Rickey had for the game of baseball.
The film did well to fully illustrate the deep-seated level of prejudice and racism that was prevalent during that time.
The scene with the father and son in the stands was particularly powerful, demonstrating that racism is a learned trait, not something we are born to believe.
The cinematography used throughout the film helped to capture the intensity of the history-making 1947 season. Visually stunning, the film captures the audience’s attention with ease.
“42” is much more than a baseball movie. The film captivates audiences and at the same time gives a valuable snapshot of our nation’s history. Much like the player for which this film was inspired by, “42” is built to last.