As an African American male and as someone who has long regarded baseball as his favorite sport, I was eagerly anticipating the opening of the movie “42″ , being that it depicted the story of the man who essentially began the Civil Rights Movement when he broke baseball’s color line with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
Though I already knew the story, I was not disappointed in the slightest when I recently saw the film as it brought to life the struggles that Jackie – portrayed brilliantly by Chadwick Boseman – had to endure in being the first black man in 60 years to play organized white baseball, particularly the racist actions by opponents and some of his white teammates who were desperate in wanting to keep the major leagues strictly for Caucasians of European descent.
This resistance was graphically shown in the form of Philadelphia Phillies’ manager Ben Chapman, played by Alan Tudyk, who in the movie (SPOILER ALERT!) stood in front of his dugout during a game and called Jackie all sorts of vile, nasty, bigoted stuff, trying to get him to respond, which he had promised the Dodgers’ owner, Branch Rickey – which Harrison Ford of Star Wars and Indiana Jones fame played wonderfully – that he wouldn’t. The way that the film showed Jackie’s frustration in the clubhouse tunnel illustrated perfectly the pain that he went through.
There were many other aspects to “42″ that I thoroughly enjoyed, but as the movie has already been released, I don’t want to provide any more spoilers and ruin the whole experience for you.
But I will say this…
If you are already a baseball fan who is very much into its history and significance on American Society, and if you are already familiar with Robinson’s story, then “42″ is an extremely well done movie that I highly and enthusiastically recommend.
If you are not really into baseball, never been a fan of the sport or have not been a sports kind of person in general and only know Jackie Robinson as some guy who played baseball a long time ago and was the first black man to do so, then “42″ is a GREAT movie that absolutely MUST be seen, a movie that not only shows how baseball was and how it changed for the better, but also how this country was as far as race relations and issues; how Africans were regarded by I reckon the majority of whites at one time, and how two men – Robinson and Rickey – took the steps to begin changing that.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Be sure to catch this movie as soon as possible.
And to wet your urges a little further, here’s a trailer that I’m positive you’ll enjoy: