Tagline: In a game divided by color, he made us see greatness.
Such was the indelible impact made by Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play professional baseball in the modern era, that his shirt number, 42, was the first to be retired in professional sports. A little over 15 years since that landmark moment, a movie on his life — and the role of Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey in helping Robinson break the color barrier — has been released.
Chadwick Boseman plays Robinson while Harrison Ford takes on the role of Rickey, who signed Robinson for the Dodgers. But while the movie could get a bump with its release timed to coincide with Jackie Robinson Day on April 15 , the early word on 42 is that the film’s title could end up higher than its Rotten Tomatoes score. “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,” yawns Variety. “A too self-consciously inspiring rendition of Jackie Robinson’s genuinely inspiring accomplishment of breaking baseball’s color barrier,” concludes the Hollywood Reporter. And Screen Daily thinks that “the film feels subdued and a little stiff, as if afraid to add too much drama or cinematic style to the historical facts.” But Movie Nation, while perhaps stopping short of giving it the reviewer’s equivalent of a home run, surely scores it as a triple. “Earnest, righteous, overlong but very entertaining, and darned accurate as history.”
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