Posted on 5/10/13 01:20 AM
"42" like Spielberg's "Lincoln," is more about a specific moment in a person's life than his entire life. In this case, this movie is about how Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in professional baseball. The story is about persistence and keeping a cool head through all the torment and backlash of fighting for what you believe in. At the end of the day, it is a movie about overcoming adversity. A type of movie that I tend to favor and for some reason really attracted to and this film is no exception. It is fairly inspiring and a story worth telling.
The writing in the film is strong and inspiring, but fairly on the surface. The script rarely goes deeper into the issue of racism, but the parts that do transcends the movie to another level. Inspiring speeches are filled in the script and really make you believe in the character and what they fought for. While the script can be a bit "iffy," the direction is spot on. Director Brian Helgeland, who also wrote the script, put a lot of attention to capturing the era and highlighting the importance of what Jackie Robinson did. Baseball games are well shot and really gives a feel of being their and watching the game live. Even though we know how things play out, we are always guessing and hoping for things to come. The film is well shot and it also has a really nice look that really captures the era in which the movie is set.
Actors do a great job of playing their respective historical character. Everyone one brings their "A" game. From the previews, I thought this would have been the movie that would have gotten Harrison Ford his second Oscar nomination, but sadly his performance doesn't reach greatness. However, he is still incredibly good and gives his best performance in years. The true star of this film is Jackie Robinson and just like him his actor is who really shines. Chadwick Boseman gives a great and reserved performance. We see his anger build in his eyes, but he never shows it on his face or body. It takes incredible skill to give such a compelling performance.
Overall, "42" is a really good movie and the best film I've seen all year. The story, while a bit on the surface, is well told and inspiring. Directing, camera work, and look are all top notch and really capture the spirit, both good and bad, of an era. However, the true highlights of the film are the performances by the cast. They portray their characters well, but the star of the film is Chadwick, who owns every scene he is in. I give it 4.5/5, a crowd pleaser that has depth and important story to tell.