BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
APRIL 12, 2013
“42” is a phenomenal sports film about Jackie Robinson, a legend not only in baseball but in life. However, the film does not reach much further than that. Going into the film, it reeked of Academy Award potential, with solid performances and a diligent message. However, Helgeland makes some poignant decisions that leave the film missing that special something to make it an Oscar contender.
With the historical representation of segregation of the whites and blacks, films like “The Help” handles the subject in a much more cinematic way, leaving “42” feeling forced and nothing we haven’t seen before. The story of Jackie Robinson is inspirational, and the screenplay does it justice, but with a little more effort and perhaps a different approach, this film could have echoed into the Oscar pools.
Chadwick Boseman is a strong leading man, capturing the essence of Robinson. He plays out each emotion as you would expect, but again, he never carries it over to astonishing. Harrison Ford pours himself in the role of Dodger GM Branch Rickey, with a gravelly voice and a trove of life lessons, not just for Robinson but for the world. Even the gorgeous Nicole Beharie steals the show, hopefully presenting herself for future Academy-worthy work. “42” is the first great sports film released in recent memory, and one that will probably catch fire like “The Natural” and “Field Of Dreams.” It has universal appeal for all ages, and though it will never have an Oscar nomination attached to it, it will live forever.
April 12, 2013
Warner Bros. Pictures
(for thematic elements including language)