Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Review: Unashamed Old-School Biopic '42' Brings Jackie Robinson to Life

Thompson on Hollywood By Carrie Rickey | Thompson on Hollywood April 12, 2013 at 2:35PM

"42," the story of Jackie Robinson’s rookie season for the Brooklyn Dodgers, looks like a Norman Rockwell illustration come to life, as I say in my first review for WHYY about this unashamedly old-school biopic.
0
Chadwick Boseman as Robinson in '42'
Chadwick Boseman as Robinson in '42'

"42," the story of Jackie Robinson's rookie season for the Brooklyn Dodgers, looks like a Norman Rockwell illustration come to life, as I say in my first review for WHYY about this unashamedly old-school biopic.

It stars relative newcomer Chadwick Boseman as Robinson -- 42 was the number on the ballplayer's Dodgers jersey -- and it doesn't hurt the cause that Boseman bats, runs and slides like an actual ballplayer. And he does such a convincing job swallowing the bile Robinson must have felt when he was race-baited or told he couldn’t sleep in the same hotel as his white teammates that I thought I was going to get acid reflux just by watching him.

Walking in, I was disappointed that I wasn't going to see Spike Lee’s Jackie Robinson movie. From the trailers, I was afraid it was going to focus more on Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford in a cigar-and-scenery-chewing performance), the Dodgers owner whose recruitment of Robinson integrated the majors. While Robinson's relationship with Rickey (no relation to me, by the way) is one of the film’s plotlines in Brian Helgeland's film, more moving is Robinson’s loving marriage with his wife, Rachel (Nicole Beharie, wonderful) and his shotgun marriage to teammates like Pee Wee Reese and Ralph Branca. 

Read the rest of this review here.

This article is related to: Reviews, Brian Helgeland, Harrison Ford


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.