I was very lucky to have a chance to preview “42” this past Saturday. I was looking forward to it all week although it was nothing compared to the star-studded event they had on Tuesday, April 2nd at the White House, Atlanta, and Milwaukee where the movie first showed. But nevertheless, no matter the size of the theater, or the grandeur of the event, the power of the story goes beyond its walls.
In one way or another we all know the Jackie Robinson story. This movie focuses on that period of American history where the boundaries were pushed. The “game changers” had and made enemies along the way but they also had supporters that went beyond color.
The movie starts out in 1945 when Jackie –who was brilliantly played by Chadwick Bosman, mostly known for his work in All My Children- was playing in the Negro Leagues with the Kansas City Monarchs. The title reflects Jackie’s symbolic number but the movie is as much Jackie’s story as it is Branch Rickey’s –played by Harrison Ford who never falters as keeping in character-let me tell you, every story that I read about Branch Rickey has me believing that is exactly what I saw in this movie. Branch was the GM that defied the rules and gave Jackie a spot in the roster of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 amid the “unwritten rule” of the color barrier in Major League Baseball.
The actors were able to portray the different emotions. You could feel the anger, the frustration, the triumph from different angles, including Jackie’s wife Rachel (Nicole Beharie), of what they were facing.
Some scenes may be hard to watch but nevertheless they were the reality they had to live through.
The movie is also surprisingly funny and the script has many memorable quotes. I was trying to remember as many quotes as possible but it was practically impossible because the movie provides many thought-provoking sequences.
But I think my favorite quote- to sum it all up and not to give that much away – was when PeeWee Reese (Lucas Black) tells Jackie:
Maybe tomorrow we will all wear 42. That way they won’t be able to tell us apart.
Side Note: I encourage everyone to read more about Jackie’s tribulations, the history of the Negro Leagues and how it all transcends the theme of equality. When you watch it, I want to know what you think.