This film has it all working together: the lead actors are deeply believable and moving. Chadwick Boseman shines in the lead role. His control is superb, and his emotion rocks the audience. The rage scene has to go down as one of the great cinematic moments. Playing Rachel Robinson is Nicole Beharie. All you can say is “wow!” With a wife like that, no wonder the man walked through walls! The supporting cast is excellent. The movie was photographed beautifully and thumbs up to art direction. You took us back to 1946! Thanks to the fine art executed by the cinematographers, it is a pleasure to watch and listen, although at certain intersections, it is very hard to witness the depths of cruelty measured out by so many against one.
Unlike other Hollywood ‘efforts,’ 42 does not overdo it, but neither do the filmmakers pull punches. They tell a story with all the highs and lows and all the nuances, avoiding the stupidity of blanket condemnation or the hero worship that Robinson himself would have rejected. Indeed it is a story of people being inspired to overcome injustice, which is really the story of America.
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And it all happens without expanding hate or encouraging violence. Instead, like Robinson’s life, the film heals and promotes growth, and as Branch tells Jackie at a particularly tough time: “You’re our medicine.”
42 is good medicine. Take some!
Image: Jackie Robinson comic book (issue #5); circa 1951; United States Library of Congress; digital ID ppmsc.00133; author: Fawcett Publications; public domain/copyright not renewed