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42

8/10
Drama . Biography . Sport
 

"42" is the powerful story of Jackie Robinson, the legendary baseball player who broke Major League Baseball's color barrier when he joined the roster of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The film follows the innovative Dodger's general manager Branch Rickey, the MLB executive who first signed Robinson to the minors and then helped to bring him up to the show.

 
Actors: Brad Beyer , Brett Cullen , Jud Tylor , Ryan Merriman , John C. McGinley , Christopher Meloni , Nicole Beharie , Harrison Ford , T.R. Knight , Chadwick Boseman
Directors: Brian Helgeland
Country: USA
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  • Joe Neumaier

    Boseman is watchful, winning and confident, but never saintly. Yet he keeps Robinson’s moral spine aligned with his skill and self-respect, showing how he needed all of those to succeed.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    One of the all-time great sports movies — primarily because it's one of the all-time great sports stories.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Marc Mohan

    Spike Lee wanted for years to make a Jackie Robinson film, and I hope he still gets his chance. Another take, maybe angrier or more polemic, could be fascinating, and the heroism of Jackie Robinson was significant enough to justify more than a few movies.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Gabe Toro

    42 is excessively retro, neglecting the urge to pepper scenes with comic relief or oppressing, flashy conflict.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    Helgeland works in what I think of as a conservative — or maybe it's just really, really basic — neoclassical Hollywood style, spelling everything out, letting the story unfold in a plainspoken and deliberate fashion, with a big, wide, open pictorial camera eye. It's like the latter-day Clint Eastwood style, applied to material that's as traditional as can be.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    The style of the film, lush and traditional, is nothing special, but the takeaway, a daily struggle for dignity, is impossibly moving.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Laremy Legel

    A kind and decent film, but doesn't add to Robinson's legacy.

    Film.com Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    Harrison plays Rickey with a jutting jaw, squinting eye and hoarse bark straight out of the Irascible Old Coot playbook, his character constantly invoking God and the almighty dollar to justify what became known as Rickey’s “noble experiment.”

    Washington Post Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Unfortunately, the generic bio-pic structure of 42 prevents it from ever becoming something great.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    42 may not be a home run, but it’s certainly a solid three-base hit as worthy family entertainment.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    42 doesn't shirk from showing how daunting it was for Robinson to turn the other cheek, as Ford's Rickey tells him he must do, in the face of the insults and hostility.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    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.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    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.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    Earnest, righteous, historically accurate and often entertaining.

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    It’s a perfectly unexceptional but slickly made, sincerely acted, often entertaining, sometimes manipulative and always watchable blend of action on the diamond and bravery behind the scenes that will please baseball fanatics more than movie historians. It’s a good enough biopic to make you wish it were a better motion picture.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    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.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Louis Black

    Boseman as Jackie Robinson and Beharie as Rachel Robinson both deliver terrific performances, and the cast of managers and ballplayers – are excellent. Harrison Ford plays Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey as a larger-than-life eccentric, seeming almost like a demented Orville Redenbacher at times.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Bob Mondello

    A profile in real-life courage that would be stronger as a movie if it weren't quite so intent on underlining teachable moments.

    NPR Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    It takes a particularly ham-fisted filmmaker to transform a fascinating and historically significant story into something as formulaic as 42.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Connie Ogle

    And still 42 persists in entertaining you, even when you’re cringing, because the real story is so compelling.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Rick Groen

    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.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    The ambitious new biopic about Robinson, is better written and produced than those children’s books, but it isn’t any deeper, and that’s a disappointment.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    Treats its now-mythic Brooklyn Dodger with respect, reverence and love. But who's in there, underneath the mythology?

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Given Helgeland's rep as a screenwriter (including an Oscar for 1997's L.A. Confidential), it rankles that 42 settles for the official story. The private Robinson, who died of a heart attack at 53 in 1972, stays private. We stay on the outside looking in. Let it be.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Mike McCahill

    Boseman hits his key scenes out of the park, making a swell couple with Shame's Nicole Beharie, while Helgeland stages Robinson's signature base-stealing with undeniable aplomb.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Ian Nathan

    Already a hit in America, 42 is a well-told but square biopic doing justice to Jackie Robinson rather than exploring him.

    Empire Full Review
  • Mary Pols

    Boseman is not a hugely close physical match to Robinson, except for perhaps in the power he conveys, but he’s a great choice to play the ball player, unfamiliar enough, despite a decade of small credits here and there, to feel like an athlete, not a movie star playing one.

    Time Full Review
  • David Denby

    Sixty-six years later, when a black man holds the Presidency, equality may still be, for some, unbearable, but Robinson abruptly moved America forward. 42, however limited at times, lays out the tortured early days of that advance with clarity and force.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    Aesthetically, Helgeland's film -- while highly polished -- is straight-forward stuff, hewing so closely to the prescribed genre conventions as to border on unimaginative.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Bilge Ebiri

    Helgeland’s epic about Jackie Robinson’s first year in Major League Baseball is uneven — often exciting, and just as often shallow and ham-handed — but if there’s one thing to which it remains true, it's that the almighty American greenback and the all-American athlete are the great destroyers of bigotry.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    Robinson's combination of fortitude, restraint and passion for the game was stunning. You can't help getting caught up in this story, even as you are wishing the telling was sharper than it is.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    It is blunt, simple and sentimental, using time-tested methods to teach a clear and rousing lesson.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    The Jackie Robinson biopic 42 operates in a box inside of a box—and not the batter’s box, either, because that would imply it has some freedom to swing away. 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.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Nick Schager

    The film elevates the story of Jackie Robinson to that of cornball legend rather than just honoring his legitimately uplifting, heroic saga by telling it straight.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    Pretty when it should be gritty and grandiosely noble instead of just telling it like it was, 42 needlessly trumps up but still can't entirely spoil one of the great American 20th century true-life stories, the breaking of major league baseball's color line by Jackie Robinson.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Scott Foundas

    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.

    Variety Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    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.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    What's been carefully filtered out of the film as a whole is the tumult and passion of Robinson's life.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Alan Scherstuhl

    The movie sugars up Robinson's story, and like too many period pieces it summons some vague idea of a warmer, simpler past by bathing everything in thick amber light, as if each scene is one of those preserved mosquitoes that begat the monsters of Jurassic Park.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    A superior sports movie, dealing honestly with a great American story.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
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