Length: 128 minutes / 2.13 hours
In today’s charged racial climate, it seems that we haven’t come that far from the 1940’s. All the barriers that have been broken to allow equal opportunities to everyone don’t seem to matter if the heart of the people has not been changed. Needless to say, several films have been made in the last few years which have highlighted the racial struggles of the pioneers in their respective professions. Initially, I was skeptical that 42 (2013) would devolve into your standard “fight against racism” story, but the expert camerawork, peppy pacing, and superb casting really made this movie for me.
Having played baseball myself up through my senior year in high school, the appeal of a story about the game is what initially piqued my interest. The fact that this is a story about one of the most recognizable names in baseball was merely icing on the cake. There have been a number of baseball films over the years, and I feel this one is probably one of the better ones because it focused on the skill of the player. After all, the whole reason Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) was given a shot was because he could win games with his talents, not because he was white.
Yes, this film does focus heavily on the struggle of being the first to break through the race barrier, but it’s done in such a way that you can feel the strength of Robinson’s character each time he is insulted. Not to mention the fact that this movie also highlights the fact that he was a loving husband and father, which helps make this quite the uplifting film. The other side of the uplifting coin is the superb acting talent of Harrison Ford (it took me almost half the movie to recognize him under those bushy eyebrows the first time I saw this film). His character’s homespun, faith-based approach to life left me feeling quite inspired.
A fantastic film about courage, determination, and family, I give 42 4.5 stars out of 5.