A FILM REVIEW
BY KYLE JACKSON
Have you ever watched or read a biography that has had you thinking, “What would this world be like if a person never had the courage or nerve to do what they have done?” “42is about Jackie Robinson, a ball player who believed that color did not just separate people, but it restricted the freedoms of all African Americans.
Brian Helgeland’s film “42”, documented on the life of Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman).The film truly shows how history was changed when the color barrier was broken in the sport of baseball.. This film really expresses how brutal the world of sports was to African Americans in the time period of 1946.
Jackie Robinson was one of a kind. Not only was he and an outstanding baseball player, he also had more nerve than anyone could ever imagine having. He stood up for what he believed by taking action and participating as the first African American to be introduced to Major League baseball. From the 1920s to the 1940s, there were two different leagues, the Major Leagues and the Negro Leagues. No African American ever had the chance to enter the Major Leagues with all the white athletes until the courageous man, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers took a stand against Major League Baseball and the color barrier. Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson to the team.
Branch Rickey knew exactly what he was doing. Robinson was the shortstop for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro League. He was a four-star athlete at the University of California Los Angeles (U.C.L.A), and was also a commissioned Army officer during World War II. Robinson spent a short time in the Dodgers Minor League program in Montreal. After completing his contract with the Minor League System, he began his life in a new way by marrying Rachel Isum (Nichole Beharie) and having their first baby. Jackie Robinson has his first appearance As a Brooklyn Dodger wearing the number 42 and starting first base in 1947 on opening day.
This film does an excellent job exhibiting the emotion and racism expressed during Jackie Robinson’s first game as a Brooklyn Dodger as well as the first African American in Major League Baseball. Robinson was not the only African American impacted by this moment, nor was he the only black American to be treated unfairly.
There was one individual who was involved in most of the racial bullying during this fold, and that was the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, Ben Chapman (Alan Tudyk). He was not the only one though, Robinson was harassed by police officers in Florida during his first spring training. He often times entered the games with boos and racial slurs being thrown at him from the fans.
Robinson was often tormented by his teammates as well. He faced so much adversity when playing the game. It was normal for Robinson to be spiked by base runners on purpose to show their hatred for him being involved in the game. Often when he was at bat,the pitchers would throw the ball at his head as a sign telling him he doesn’t belong there. Robinson put a lot of heart into the game to not retaliate, because he knew if he retaliated he would ruin his opportunity and would give no chance for another African American to ever play baseball in the Major League. As the season went on, his teammates sent around a petition in the clubhouse to get Jackie out of the league and off the team. They also sent one around demanding to get rid of Branch Rickey because he was the one who brought Jackie into the game.
As the season progressed Robinson’s ’s teammates finally stated to realize that he was a great man for dealing with the things he was going through and not backing out. Ralph Branca (Hamish Linklater), a pitcher for the Dodgers, was the first to shake Robinson hand as soon as they got back into the locker room, and then shortstop, Pee Wee Reese (Lucas Black), gave Jackie some uplifting words of advice before they went out in Cincinnati. This is the emotional high point in the movie. His teammates were finally realizing what he has been going through.
Jackie faced a great amount of loneliness and anger that he could not express because that would just show that he was not strong enough to go through with what he always dreamed of doing. He could show no sign of weakness, because that would only open up society to bash him even harder. That would make it seem like everyone else was right when they believed that he did not belong where he was. Everything that he has went through makes Jackie Robinson a true hero, one that has the power to overcome and have such thick skin such as he did should be recognized as a hero.
I believe this is a great film to learn from for people my age to get an outlook on the times of our grandparents. It is amazing how much has changed since the time of our grandparents to now and it is needed to see where society stood at then so it doesn’t go back to that. I believe no man or woman, should have ever had to experience the things he did when going through with one of his dreams. Jackie Robinson was a man that I could never imagine myself as. He dealt with more adversity than anyone I know, and he turned it all into motivation to do better.