Film Review: “42″… A Worthy Tribute

42 is proof that bad trailers are not necessarily proof that the film will follow suit.

Featuring a completely out-of-place song by Jay-Z, the trailer sold 42 as a preachy, adrenaline-fueled “don’t let the man get you down” story moviegoers have seen hundreds of times.

In reality, 42 isn’t about the integration of pro baseball. It isn’t even about racism but rather a story about a man rising to meet an almost unthinkable challenge with dignity and grace. Chadwick Boseman gives a subtle but powerful performance as Jackie Robinson, the baseball legend who broke the color barrier that opened the doorway for generations of non-white athletes to play professional sports.

Boseman as Jackie Robinson

While the film does succumb to a few traps (one evil white man sits behind a desk getting a manicure while reveling in his evil-ness, and there is an enormous over-abundance of orchestral swells), writer/director Brian Helgeland has helmed a truly inspirational story that skirts the edge of cheesy without ever falling over that edge.

It’s nice to see Harrison Ford actually create a character that does not rely solely on a smirk or a scowl for once. He truly hits home as Dodgers’ owner/innovator Branch Rickey. Sharp performances by Lucas Black and the rest of the Dodgers’ ensemble keep 42 grounded and genuine.

Bottom Line: Well played, Warner Bros. Well played.

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