"42" is a rousing, crowd pleasing film based on the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play major league baseball. Even if you don't like baseball, it's a very human story of triumph, both in sports and over racial discrimination.
Chadwick Boseman, a fairly unknown actor, plays Jackie Robinson with all the charisma and self assurance of a major movie star. Co-starring is an almost unrecognizable Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who give Mr. Robinson a shot at the majors. Mr. Ford is absolutely wonderful in the role. It's one of the best things he's done in years.
The film also stars Nicole Beharie as Rachel Robinson, Jackie's wife, Andre Hollard as Wendell Smith, a sports writer and chronicler of Jackie's story and Christopher Meloni as Brooklyn Dodger manager Leo Durocher. The film was written and directed by Brian Helgeland with much love and reverence for his subject.
Mr. Helgeland focuses on the first three years of Mr. Robinson's career and does a great job avoiding melodrama. Everything about the film glows with authenticity. Mr. Helgeland doesn't shy away from the ugliness of racism. A scene when the opposing manager in a game taunts Mr. Robinson with unbelievable slurs is difficult to watch but necessary to the story.
The film has a great cast, a great script and a real life American hero. It should not be missed.