42 - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

42 Reviews

Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
May 7, 2014
A dramatization of what Robinson did and what it required, 42 will not disappoint.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Mary F. Pols
TIME Magazine
May 7, 2014
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.
Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
May 7, 2014
The style of the film, lush and traditional, is nothing special, but the takeaway, a daily struggle for dignity, is impossibly moving.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Matthew Lickona
San Diego Reader
May 7, 2014
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.
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Grantland
January 6, 2014
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.
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
April 22, 2013
A square, uninventive, but detailed and stirring bio-pic devoted to the two years in an athlete's life that changed a nation.
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Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
April 12, 2013
"This is a competent but mostly unexceptional film about a most extraordinary man."
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
April 12, 2013
This story inspires and entertains with a vital chapter in this nation's history.
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
April 12, 2013
The filmmaking is TV-movie-of-the-week dull and Robinson's ordeal is hammered home to the exclusion of virtually everything else in his life.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Top Critic
Laremy Legel
Film.com
April 12, 2013
"A kind and decent film, though it doesn't add to Robinson's legacy."
Full Review | Original Score: 7.5/10
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
April 12, 2013
[Boseman] captures, in a clenched jaw or a sidelong glance, a lifetime's worth of dearly attained dignity and barely contained rage.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
April 12, 2013
In the hallowed frames of 42, the legend is front and centre and still inspiring. Too bad the more interesting man is nowhere to be seen.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
April 12, 2013
If anybody deserves to be portrayed as noble, it's Jackie Robinson.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
April 12, 2013
An inspiring, old-school biopic that doesn't pull any punches in depicting the ugly racism that Jackie Robinson faced on a daily basis as the first African-American player in Major League Baseball.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
April 12, 2013
A stirring, straightforward and ultimately soaring portrayal of Robinson's historic entry into Major League Baseball in 1947.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
April 11, 2013
The beauty of the Jackie Robinson story is that it's so naturally inspiring that not even lethal amounts of bombast, sentimental writing, soaring strings, hammy acting or desperate hyperbole can tarnish it beyond repair.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Dana Stevens
Slate
April 11, 2013
By burnishing Jackie Robinson's legend to such an unnaturally high polish, 42 does Robinson the man (and the actor who plays him, the relative newcomer Chadwick Boseman) a disservice.
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
April 11, 2013
Robinson's story had so much drama in real life, and his sacrifice and pain made such a lasting influence, that "42" ends up being effective in its gee-whiz way almost in spite of itself.
Top Critic
Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
April 11, 2013
For all the 1940s hokiness of 42, with its big cars and big bands and peanuts and Cracker Jack, it's a wonderful surprise to see that there's a recognizable human being at the center of the hoopla.
Top Critic
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
April 11, 2013
42 escapes the trappings of sheer hero worship largely thanks to Boseman, whose relative anonymity eliminates any potential star baggage. More than that, he strikes a tough balance.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
April 11, 2013
Mr. Helgeland's ponderously reverential biopic is a string of unearned runs.
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
April 11, 2013
It's a great and triumphant story, and writer and director Brian Helgeland (an Oscar winner for his L.A. Confidential screenplay) brings it to life in burnished, old-fashioned Hollywood style.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
April 11, 2013
Though not accurate in every particular, the movie mostly succeeds in respecting the facts of history and the personality of its hero, and in reminding audiences why he mattered.
Top Critic
Bruce Demara
Toronto Star
April 11, 2013
Well-paced and often riveting, and manages to inspire while remaining true to the sport and to the player who changed it and all of professional sport forever.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
April 11, 2013
There's not enough of Robinson's back story to convey the full drama of his place in history.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
April 11, 2013
Shameless, sure. But effective.
Top Critic
Cary Darling
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
April 11, 2013
Even the most woefully sports-ignorant probably know all the plot points here by heart. For all its feel-good sports-movie predictability, 42 ... is surprisingly effective and even, at a couple of points, moving.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Bilge Ebiri
New York Magazine/Vulture
April 11, 2013
As Robinson, Boseman has both physical grace and sly charm.
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
April 11, 2013
Ironically, the most valuable player here is Harrison Ford, giving one of the best performances of his career as Brooklyn Dodgers manager Branch Rickey.
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
April 11, 2013
It's a valuable history lesson, an intelligent drama that hits all the right emotional buttons, and an inspiring portrait of a true American hero.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
April 11, 2013
It's worth seeing because the film is competently presented and the story is inherently important, but I couldn't help be disappointed that the result wasn't more fresh or visionary.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Alan Scherstuhl
Village Voice
April 11, 2013
A likable hagiography as nuanced as a plaque at the Cooperstown Hall of Fame.
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
April 11, 2013
The inspirational movie named for Robinson's number is too dignified to throw audiences a curveball, let alone a knockdown pitch, but its solid fundamentals make it a winner.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
April 11, 2013
It's a sports film nonsports fans can love; it's a family film that never preaches; it's a biopic that also takes in the world and people around its subject.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
April 11, 2013
"42" settles for too little, for being an attractive primer, an introduction to the legend of Robinson and the faith that saw him through.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
April 11, 2013
If you want a crowd-pleaser that confirms your belief in America's steady, pre-ordained progression away from racism, this will do fine.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
John Hartl
Seattle Times
April 11, 2013
"42" can feel incomplete (the bland music and the filmmaker's obsession with dates and places are problematic), yet at the same time it offers a very good place to start.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
April 11, 2013
Helgeland has given us an impressive introduction to one of the most important men in U.S. history. But you can't help wanting more.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
April 11, 2013
There are many less flattering things you could say about a movie than that it's enjoyable in a square, uncomplicated, stirringly old-fashioned way.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Scott Tobias
AV Club
April 11, 2013
It's thoroughly embalmed in the glossy lacquer of conventional baseball movies, and limited further by trying to deal with the horrors of racism in that context.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Chicago Sun-Times
April 11, 2013
"42" is competent, occasionally rousing and historically respectful - but it rarely rises above standard, old-fashioned biography fare. It's a mostly unexceptional film about an exceptional man.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
April 10, 2013
This big-budget period piece is more concerned with burnishing a legend than dramatizing a life.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
April 10, 2013
At the top of a new baseball season, it's hard not to root for a movie that's in it for the love of the game.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Charlie McCollum
San Jose Mercury News
April 10, 2013
If you want a sense of a true all-American hero, this film is a fine place to start.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
April 10, 2013
With 42, [Helgeland] expands his skills to turn a mountain of research into a cogent life story worth retelling.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
David Germain
Associated Press
April 10, 2013
For all the hate and hostility it depicts, 42 is a film about decent-hearted people. Hate can be infectious, but so can decency. It's the decency you'll take away from 42.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
April 10, 2013
Rather than letting its hero's accomplishments and behavior speak for themselves, Helgeland hammers home every achievement and then puts a halo around it, as if anyone won't get it otherwise.
Top Critic
Scott Foundas
Variety
April 10, 2013
A relentlessly formulaic biopic that succeeds at transforming one of the most compelling sports narratives of the 20th century into a home run of hagiography.