42: Very Nearly a Home Run

*SPOILERS BUT IT’S BASED ON A TRUE STORY ANYWAY

I just got back from the advance screening of the movie 42, and I must say, from my initial reactions, this movie was amazing. I’m not really into any sports in particular. I enjoy going to the games, but I am not an avid follower of any team. I have been to many baseball games (thanks to my American family), and I must say, it’s a fun sport to watch in person. Baseball is also a sport that seems to be well portrayed in movies. There’s so much suspense that comes just from the game itself that makes baseball movies very entertaining. I know most people seem to have some sort of hatred towards baseball for whatever reason, or at least not enough interest to watch movies about it. However, for those people, and for people who love baseball, there is only one thing to say about 42. If you never watch another baseball movie ever again, watch 42!

The movie comes out in two days, so I’m not sure how other people will review this movie (this is an fully unbiased review). Maybe people won’t like it. Maybe they’ll love it. My money’s on the latter. Overall, this movie really stood out to me for many reasons. The acting in the movie was incredible, the writing was fantastic, the cinematography was excellent, as was the general feel of the movie.

For those of you who are really not baseball fans and haven’t heard of this movie, 42 is the story of Jackie Robinson, a baseball player who broke through the color barrier so that he could play baseball, the sport he loved so much. 42 shows his struggles with the constant racism at the time, and how he grew to be one of the greatest baseball players of all time (both on and off the field).

The acting in 42 was absolutely excellent. Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson, did an incredible job. This was the first time I’ve knowingly seen Boseman’s acting (apparently he was in an episode of Fringe). His performance in 42 was truly amazing. I really believed he was Jackie Robinson. He was able to brilliantly portray Robinson’s extremely strong character, as well as his emotional vulnerability (he does the emotional stuff very well). It was really amazing. I was able to really feel for the character. Boseman made the movie possible.

Harrison Ford also did a surprisingly good job. Although at the beginning of the movie, he seemed to overact just a bit, his acting was stronger in this movie than any of his movies for a long time. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that this is possibly the best I’ve seen Harrison Ford. It’s clear that he hasn’t put too much effort in any recent movies (I mean come on, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Really?). However, he really did try in this movie, and it really pays off. He is able to be extremely funny (in his classic Harrison Ford way), and very serious.

Nicole Beharie was Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s wife. Her character was really amazing. I loved that when Jackie was at his lowest, her response wasn’t full of anger and resentment towards the people who’d hurt him (unlike almost any of the sports/racism movies), but rather out of kindness. It was nice.

The writing, done by Brian Helgeland (also the director) was very well done. It would be very hard to deal with the responsibility of writing the story of such an important figure in history. Despite that, he does a great job at it. He blends the humor and the emotion perfectly, which shows a pretty high level of talent in my opinion.

The cinematography in this movie was of very high caliber. I am a big fan of Don Burgess’ work (Flight, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Spider-man). The shots in this movie are really great (something that I find to be true with many baseball movies).

There isn’t much else to say really. I really loved the movie, and although my opinion may change a bit after the initial waves of reviews come in on Friday, I will firmly stand by my opinion. This is an extremely well acted, well written, well directed, well shot movie, with a great story. It is without a doubt worth seeing for anyone.

Hopefully this is the first of many good movies this year!

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