The Jackie Robinson biopic ‘42’ hit a home run at the box office opening weekend bringing in an estimated $27.3M and landing in the #1 spot. The film had a modest budget of $38M and received an A+ (the highest score possible) on CinemaScore. With very little promotion it appears word spread quickly among movie-goers that this was a must-see movie.The story of Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League Baseball, needed to be told. To see the way people flocked to the theaters to take in the film shows how influential Robinson was. The film was beautifully shot, wonderfully cast, and for lack of a better term easy to digest.
Writer-director Brian Helgeland’s interpretation of Jackie Robinson’s story was safe. He hits all the right emotional chords and highlights some important facts. The most memorable scene in ‘42’ is where Jackie Robinson has to endure cruel racial taunts from the Philadelphia Phillies’ manager. That tension felt in that scene seemed to be the closest to what Robinson’s experience may have actually been like. That is about as raw as the film gets and I had hoped for a little bit more.
Chadwick Boseman had a commendable performance as Jackie Robinson. It felt like a tribute that really focused on the necessity and power of Robinson’s restraint. Harrison Ford’s portrayal of Brooklyn Dodgers boss Branch Rickey overshadowed Robinson’s character at times. Because the film focuses primarily on Robinson and Rickey the rest of the characters become easy to forget.‘42’ is not a very raw or gritty film. ‘42’ is a a very sentimental and pleasant experience where you better understand why Jackie Robinson is such an important cultural figure. While it may not be historically accurate, ‘42’ is definitely a well made movie worth experiencing in theaters.