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42 (2013)

tomatometer

79

Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 178
Fresh: 140 | Rotten: 38

42 is an earnest, inspirational, and respectfully told biography of an influential American sports icon, though it might be a little too safe and old-fashioned for some.

72

Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 46
Fresh: 33 | Rotten: 13

42 is an earnest, inspirational, and respectfully told biography of an influential American sports icon, though it might be a little too safe and old-fashioned for some.

audience

86

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 117,067

My Rating

Movie Info

Hero is a word we hear often in sports, but heroism is not always about achievements on the field of play. "42" tells the story of two men-the great Jackie Robinson and legendary Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey-whose brave stand against prejudice forever changed the world by changing the game of baseball. In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) put himself at the forefront of history when he signed Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to the team, breaking Major League Baseball's infamous color

PG-13,

Drama

Brian Helgeland

Jul 16, 2013

$95.0M

Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site External Icon

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on 42

August 27, 2013:
42 Star Chadwick Boseman Joins James Brown Biopic
Jackie Robinson will be the Godfather of Soul.

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All Critics (178) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (140) | Rotten (38) | DVD (2)

A dramatization of what Robinson did and what it required, 42 will not disappoint.

May 7, 2014 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's not easy to play a stoic, but Boseman anchors the movie, and when he smiles, 42, already such a warm story of such cold times, gets even brighter.

May 7, 2014 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The style of the film, lush and traditional, is nothing special, but the takeaway, a daily struggle for dignity, is impossibly moving.

May 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

So 66 years after Robinson became the first black major league baseball player, here we are with 42, which has been made with such reverence for Robinson's importance that Robinson is barely there.

January 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Grantland
Grantland
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A square, uninventive, but detailed and stirring bio-pic devoted to the two years in an athlete's life that changed a nation.

April 22, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"This is a competent but mostly unexceptional film about a most extraordinary man."

April 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Richard Roeper.com
Richard Roeper.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A hero without imperfections can be problematic. But Jackie's nobility is more than well-earned, and tarnishing it for the sake of balance would be churlish. Besides, there's enough evil at loose among the white characters.

May 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Maclean's Magazine
Maclean's Magazine

Boseman gives a potentially star-making performance, while Ford, at 70, segues smoothly from firm-jawed action hero to elder-statesman character actor.

May 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

It comes with a smooth burnished period look, and it tells a smooth and burnished story. Helgeland has good intentions but not much new to say about a real-life hero who wears his nobility and torment mostly as symbols.

May 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Canada.com
Canada.com

The story isn't much more than a hit parade of "Shut up, racist" moments -- Alan Tudyk's opposing manager just oozes with venomous talk -- but its blunt force is enough to get the job done.

May 7, 2014 Full Review Source: San Diego Reader
San Diego Reader

As a fond gesture to a country coming out of the dark ages, 42 is a good-hearted attempt at Robinson's story regardless of the historical realities it chose to gloss over.

May 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

42 is a hackneyed, cookie-cutter film that manages to tell us absolutely nothing about a turning point in American history.

May 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Willamette Week
Willamette Week

The film certainly feels both well-meaning and well-intentioned, but 42 can't quite find a suitable tone or flow, fluctuating between quiet moments that convey tremendous emotion and over-the-top, hammy, stagey, and exposition-heavy sequences.

May 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Film School Rejects
Film School Rejects

42 seems savvier than it tends to let on. A stiff production, it's still enlivened, as it were, by the hilarious stiffness of Ford.

May 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Metro
Metro

42 pitches an old-fashioned, spiritually uplifting sports drama at the same time it hits a resonant and timely home run for social equality.

May 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Daily Herald (IL)
Daily Herald (IL)

42 is a solid crowd-pleaser about courage, endurance, justice and tolerance, but also about love: Robinson's love for his wife, the bromance between Robinson and Rickey, and their love for the game of baseball.

May 7, 2014 Full Review Source: IGN Movies
IGN Movies

The film does tell a moving story and delivers a worthwhile message about the importance of turning the other cheek.

May 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

While the film leaves out the civil rights movement that played a role in making Branch Rickey's mind up that segregated baseball was done, it is still first-rate. Family entertainment of the best kind.

December 25, 2013 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

An old-fashioned mix of baseball nostalgia and social conscience

November 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

A sweeping, solid biopic that's nicely acted and evocative of its time, place and prejudice.

September 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

It's a moving, involving film that's packed with both snappy characters and a real sense of momentous history.

September 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

I wanted to kick Ford/Rickey into next Christmas, and you can add the movie. Its corny triumphalism is barely bearable.

September 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

Audience Reviews for 42

This movie is really average. It had all the opportunity to tell a great story about a legendary icon, but is instead overly sentimental and incredibly mediocre. It could have had a savage bite but all we get is a nibble.
January 28, 2014
Nikhil N.
Nikhil Nandu

Super Reviewer

This is a great movie for anyone. If you like baseball, great, but it's not really necessary. If you like movies set in the '40s, you'll love it. If you like well done bio-dramas, you'll love it. Our whole family was engaged by this movie... lots of discussion about racism, tolerance, and self control in the face of stupidity. The acting was top notch. The story was well put together, with plenty of chuckles, along with the drama. Nicely done film. Kudos!
December 23, 2013
itsjustme2004

Super Reviewer

Staid and square, a bit like its lead, 42 is a biopic on Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrio in baseball, and while it?s reverential to a fault, it could have used more life. As a character, Robinson is simply not terribly interesting because he?s being trapped within a limited prism of inaction. Robinson the man could be fascinating, but Robinson the character of this movie is a bit of a bore. That?s why the film is just as much about Dodgers owner Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), a far more colorful character that gets to chomp cigars and lecture people with countless speeches accompanied by heroic piano cues. 42 is crammed to the gills with messages but they?re so transparent and overdone, occasionally ham-fisted, where every important thought is spelled out and underlined and repeated for the audience. The corny sentimentality clashes with the danger and hostility Robinson bravely faced. We got stuff like a little kid praying to God that Robinson hits a homer to ?show what we can do,? a white guy trots up to Robinson and he seems dangerous? only to want to wish him well, and then there?s all the white players learning lessons of tolerance, treating Robinson as if he?s some prop for their own self-actualization. The greatest acting in the movie, a bit that may take your breath away, is from Alan Tudyk who plays a competing team manager. He is like a racist Foghorn Leghorn and he just? keeps? going. This sequence is the film?s best because it feels earned, complete, and lastly emotionally resonant. 42 is an acceptable biopic, effectively triumphant where it counts, but it feels too dated, too safe, and overburdened with doling out a slew of messages rather than telling an engaging and difficult story.

Nate's Grade: B-
November 28, 2013
boxman
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

test
November 6, 2013
jarobb3

Super Reviewer

    1. Branch Rickey: Dollars aren't black or white. They're green.
    – Submitted by Frances H (20 days ago)
    1. Branch Rickey: Ya think God likes baseball, Herb?
    2. Herb Pennock: What- What the hell is that supposed to mean?
    3. Branch Rickey: It means someday you're gonna meet God and when he inquires as to why you didn't take the field against Robinson in Philadelphia and you answer that it's because he was a Negro, it may not be a sufficient reply!
    – Submitted by Jason S (7 months ago)
    1. Leo Durocher: I don't care if he is yellow, or black or has stripes like a zebra! If Robinson can help us win and everything I have seen says he can, then he is going to play on this ball club! Like it, lump it, make your minds up to it because he's comin'! And think about this when your heads hit the pillow tonight. He's only the first, boys. Only the first. There're more comin' every day and they have got talent and they want to play. And they are gonna come scratchin' and divin' so, I would forget your petition and worry about the field because unless you fellas pay a little more attention to your work, they're gonna run you right outta the ballpark!
    – Submitted by Jason S (7 months ago)
    1. Leo Durocher: Well, I don't know much about the Bible. Look, I didn't go to school just to eat my lunch either. I'll play an elephant if he can help us win and to make room for him I'll send my own brother home if he's not as good.
    – Submitted by Jason S (7 months ago)
    1. Branch Rickey: We had a victory of fascism in Germany. It's time, time we had a victory over racism at home.
    – Submitted by Peter B (9 months ago)
    1. Ralph Branca: Come on, take a shower with me, Jackie.
    – Submitted by Fenky G (10 months ago)
View all quotes (18)

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