The movie 42 is a biographical drama on DVD about Jackie Robinson, a Hall of Fame baseball player who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. In 1946, Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) is a Negro League baseball player who never takes racism lying down. Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) is a Major League team executive with a bold idea. To that end, Rickey recruits Robinson to break the unspoken color line as the first modern African American Major League player. As both anticipate, this proves a major challenge for Robinson and his family as they endure unrelenting racist hostility on and off the field, from player and fan alike. As Jackie struggles against his nature to endure such abuse without complaint, he finds allies and hope where he least expects it.
42 is a powerful film about how one man changed baseball… and changed America. The film opens in 1945, after the end of World War II, when team executive Branch Rickey has set his mind on bringing the first black baseball player into the ranks of an American major league baseball team despite the disapproval of his advisers and team manager. A stubborn man who declares that money is green, not black or white, and claims profit as his motivation, Rickey carefully selects Jackie Robinson from the Kansas City Monarchs. He chooses Robinson both because he's an excellent baseball player and because Rickey believes him to be a man with the inner strength to withstand the bullying and abuse that's sure to follow his appointment to an all-white team. So begins an emotionally charged journey of prejudice, abuse, growth, and empowerment that follows player and manager as they submerge themselves in something much bigger than themselves. Harrison Ford is perfectly cast as Mr. Rickey, a stubborn man with a mission he refuses to be dissuaded from and who is contradictorily harsh and kind, wise and comical, progressive and old school. Chadwick Boseman, as Jackie Robinson, exudes the intense inner strength and barely contained rage of a black man whose physical and moral strengths are ignored by fellow players and a public fixated on the color of his skin. He is absolutely believable as a man who changed the world while refusing to let the world change him. Equally strong performances are given by Nicole Beharie as the ever-calm Mrs. Rachel Robinson and Andre Holland as Wendell Smith, the black reporter who accompanies Jackie Robinson almost everywhere. 42 is a poignant film that has some unexpectedly witty moments, and viewers can expect their emotions to run the gamut from shame, helplessness, and rage to the awakening of inspiration and empowerment to continue to effect change and eradicate discrimination. 42 is one of the best films produced in a long time. Watch it--and make sure to include your teenagers in the audience. (Ages 12 and older) --Tami Horiuchi