In 1946, Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers GM, put himself in the forefront of American history when he decided to sign Jackie Robinson to his team. This of course broke Major League Baseball's color line, putting Rickey and Robinson on the forefront of public dissension. While Rickey's commitment was extremely important it is the courage which Robinson showed on the field in his unwillingness to flinch or fight back. Brian Helgeland's 42 is an inspiring and entertaining retelling of this important story and while it's certainly light and fluffy considering the material, that doesn't mean it isn't a film which everyone should see. I guess the word to describe "42" is competent, being inspiring but never going far enough to be something truly impressive. The film touches on some very interesting themes from how Money and Capitalism played an extremely important rule in helping Jackie Robinson overcome this extreme racism and hatred to just how hatred is what breeds racism in the first place. We see how Jackie's talent was what ultimately opened the door to acceptance and how his teammates themselves began to be attacked with racial slurs themselves for protecting their teammate. I guess I just wish the film would have been a little more deep in exploring the times but it clearly keeps almost its entire narrative focus on Jackie's rise. Make no mistake, 42 is a crowd pleasing tribute to Jackie Robinson and I'm not sure I have a problem with '42' being rather light and modest because that way more people, young and old, can experience how important Jackie Robinson was.
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