User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 181 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 11 out of 181
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  1. Apr 13, 2013
    5
    '42' is no 'Remember the Titans', an absolutely fantastic movie. I was hoping this one would be just as moving. But alas this film simply doesn't get it done because the story of Robinson is compelling. There really are only a couple of scenes that provide an insight into what Robinson was feeling. Overall the movie makes it seem as if Robinson is somewhat apathetic or at times even'42' is no 'Remember the Titans', an absolutely fantastic movie. I was hoping this one would be just as moving. But alas this film simply doesn't get it done because the story of Robinson is compelling. There really are only a couple of scenes that provide an insight into what Robinson was feeling. Overall the movie makes it seem as if Robinson is somewhat apathetic or at times even dismissive of his situation/importance and that his family was not affected much by the rampant racism of the time (which for the most part was heavily washed over in this film for some odd reason). I wish they would have focused more on the man and internal struggles of Robinson rather than the sport he played. Expand
  2. Apr 20, 2013
    5
    Schmaltzy baseball movie about a player enduring unbearable adversity to be much more than anyone could expect. Add to that the fact that it is true and you have a movie tailor made for me to love. So why didn't I? The easy answer is they white washed the story, and I think they did to a point. However this story was white washed long before it hit the big screen, and there is a validSchmaltzy baseball movie about a player enduring unbearable adversity to be much more than anyone could expect. Add to that the fact that it is true and you have a movie tailor made for me to love. So why didn't I? The easy answer is they white washed the story, and I think they did to a point. However this story was white washed long before it hit the big screen, and there is a valid reason for that. You will not find anyone in his family or that played with him that will not say that Robinson was not only a great ballplayer but a great person. A player who had every reason to fight, to be filled with venom, to give up. Robinson did none of these things even though no one would have blamed him if he did. That character prevails throughout 42 and is not the reason I would condemn this film.

    The problem with 42 is most of it does not feel authentic, although it does have some authentic moments. There are some scenes involving children that are especially problematic and will no doubt be greeted by most viewers with an eye roll. Robinson's teammates and wife are all painted with broad strokes and consequently we never get a realistic impression of their relationships. 42 also fails to give us a realistic look at racism. The racism either seems to be present in a character in its worst form or not there at all. It seems odd to use a word like nuance when talking about racism but I feel that is exactly what is missing from most of the conflict in 42.

    One relationship that 42 does well, and what saves it from being a total disaster is Robinson and Rickey. Ford is great as Rickey and Boseman is no slouch as Robinson which doesn't hurt. Their relationship is the only one given a true arc and their scenes together are the best in the film by far. Listening to Rickey talk about the abhorrent situations that Robinson endured is a far more emotional experience then anything we get to see in other scenes. As depicted in the film Rickey seemed to understand the difference between having empathy for Robinson and having sympathy, where other characters did not. This made him and Robinson the driving force behind everything that felt authentic in 42.

    I would be remiss if I did not give some credit to John McGinley when talking about 42. He portrays Red Barber, the Dodgers announcer during this period, and is a true stand out in a very limited role. His voice and cadence were perfect and really added to my enjoyment of the baseball sequences.

    42 is a flawed, but not fatally flawed film. It is a mixed bag that I think many people will really respond to. If your a baseball fan it is worth your time.
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  3. Apr 20, 2013
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This was a truly awkward movie. Before I get to the negatives, the color design of 42 was incredibly interesting. There was a certain dusty quality to the air that made the deep brooklyn dodger blue, and bright green grass absolutely gorgeous. It felt like it captured both the style of a dirtier, scrappier era of baseball, while also conveying the wonderful larger-than-life quality of Robinson.

    Now for the ugly truth. The script was the heart of the mess of 42. The film feels more like a set of connected events, than a story. It stays surface-level, merely focusing on the plot, as opposed to digging deeper and getting at the real man who faced real, terrible prejudice. While still staying surface-level, characters would openly converse about their deep troubles, which came across as fake. As did the entirety of Mr Mrs Robinson's relationship, for some reason. Couple scenes that seemed misplaced, with campy dialogue, and you had a movie that felt lost. I mean, at the end of it, do we really feel like we know the story of Jackie Robinson? Who he was, or why he's an American Legend? Kind of...but not really.

    I think 42 is a surface-level retelling of Jackie Robinson's first 2 years in white baseball, that ultimately fails to structure itself in a way that feels fleshed out, and compelling. The lack of direction ultimately leads the film to feel pretty shallow, and easy to forget.
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  4. Lyn
    Feb 6, 2014
    6
    A straight-up biopic, but if you like baseball, you'll enjoy it. African-American ballplayers had some harrowing experiences in the early years, and the way Robinson (and others, such as Hank Aaron) coped with the pressure is very moving.
  5. Apr 19, 2013
    6
    Sure, this is the story of Jackie Robinson's signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers, but it's equal parts about the owner who fought for the deal, played by Harrison Ford. He turns himself into an overstuffed, gravelly character that's one of his best performances, but all of them are solid (Nicole Beharie, as Jackie's wife, is particularly captivating). With the exception an early scene, thisSure, this is the story of Jackie Robinson's signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers, but it's equal parts about the owner who fought for the deal, played by Harrison Ford. He turns himself into an overstuffed, gravelly character that's one of his best performances, but all of them are solid (Nicole Beharie, as Jackie's wife, is particularly captivating). With the exception an early scene, this film is relentlessly serious. Of course, the subject is serious, but some relief for contrast might have made the dramatic struggle more effective. It's earnest in it's efforts to be inspirational and sometimes succeeds. More often, you can see the wheels turning. The period art direction is attractive. Overall, it tells an important history lesson in a mildly absorbing way. Expand
  6. May 4, 2013
    5
    42 has a rushed beginning, sappy middle and a safe ending. The movie seem to focus too much on the negative impacts of the man, then what he accomplished. 42 takes the amazing story of an amazing man and turns it into a feel good TV movie.
  7. Jan 5, 2014
    5
    The movie is harmless and never takes any risks or does anything memorable. It is a straightforward biopic that doesn't really dig deep into Jackie Robinson as a person.
  8. Nov 26, 2013
    4
    42 was ok, but nothing more. Chadwick Boseman did great as Jackie Robinson, but other than that, I think the acting left a lot to be desired as did the character development. Of course, Jackie should be the focus, but I didn't even know the names of some of the supporting characters until the end. In addition, the directing was not that great and did not feel like a feature film. However,42 was ok, but nothing more. Chadwick Boseman did great as Jackie Robinson, but other than that, I think the acting left a lot to be desired as did the character development. Of course, Jackie should be the focus, but I didn't even know the names of some of the supporting characters until the end. In addition, the directing was not that great and did not feel like a feature film. However, despite those negatives, I did enjoy 42 and thought it was an interesting look at Robinson's struggles. Expand
  9. Apr 26, 2013
    4
    Thanks to some absolutely poor writing by Brian Helgeland, 42 takes the amazing story of an amazing man and turns it into a feel-good made-for-tv movie. I wanted so badly to like this movie, but with Harrison Ford's seemingly forced acting as Branch Rickey as well as disconnected scene after disconnected scene we're left with a movie that feels rushed and doesn't entirely flesh out theThanks to some absolutely poor writing by Brian Helgeland, 42 takes the amazing story of an amazing man and turns it into a feel-good made-for-tv movie. I wanted so badly to like this movie, but with Harrison Ford's seemingly forced acting as Branch Rickey as well as disconnected scene after disconnected scene we're left with a movie that feels rushed and doesn't entirely flesh out the incredible journey of Jackie Robinson to become one of the biggest icons in baseball as well as Civil Rights history.

    In fact, the only redeeming quality about this movie is the stellar, and perhaps even award-worthy, performance by Chadwick Boseman who, along with having an awesome name, gives us a compelling portrayal of Jackie and connects with the audience from the minute he first graces the screen.

    While I can't say I hated the movie, I can't recommend it either. The ending (spoiler free) was terrible and brought a sense that the director simply didn't have time to come up with something better which... considering this is based on a true story... is ridiculous.

    Furthermore, Helgeland apparently seems to forget the rules of the game which this movie is centered on when Jackie's home run against Pittsburgh is declared "A walk-off winner" for the Dodgers by their radio commentator even though they're the visiting team and would therefore be unable to win a game in walk-off fashion. It's little details like this that further take away from what could have been a truly great movie.
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  10. Jun 29, 2013
    6
    Pros: Strong individual performances, several less than well known baseball bits (the tip of the hat for an outstanding play, a forfeit goes in the books as a 9-0 victory, etc.), and the Harry Caray-esque character portrayed by John C. McGinley (Perry Cox from Scrubs).

    Cons: Every plot point in the film was seemed predictable and bland. It would seem that inspirational sports films
    Pros: Strong individual performances, several less than well known baseball bits (the tip of the hat for an outstanding play, a forfeit goes in the books as a 9-0 victory, etc.), and the Harry Caray-esque character portrayed by John C. McGinley (Perry Cox from Scrubs).

    Cons: Every plot point in the film was seemed predictable and bland. It would seem that inspirational sports films haven't changed since The Mighty Ducks.

    Overall, I would recommend seeing the film, but no more than once. I feel as though there was too little explanation of Robinson's advancements through the ranks of the Negro leagues to the minors to the MLB for the average person and too much for the average baseball fan. I also felt that the way Robinson was depicted on the bases was terrible in that it felt as though I was watching one of the three stooges attempt to get a lead off first. The film did little more than pique my interest into watching a Jackie Robinson biography.
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  11. Aug 31, 2013
    6
    On this side of the Atlantic is not easy to get a feel for these movies, but it will be more drama than a sports movie about baseball. Not bad for one's leaving.
  12. Dec 31, 2013
    6
    It had potential, but is ultimately defeated with poor acting and a predictable, unsatisfying story. It gives you nothing that you couldn't predict, and feels too much like a cliché. I'm sorry, but 42 is a forgettable film.

    42 gets a 6.3/10
  13. Jul 23, 2014
    4
    42 is the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in the MLB. 42 chronicles the intolerance exemplified towards African Americans in the nineteen forty's and the high level of resentment they faced by the National Baseball League.

    Chadwick Boseman plays the lead role of Jackie Robinson and gives a worthy performance, although he does stubble in some of the more
    42 is the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in the MLB. 42 chronicles the intolerance exemplified towards African Americans in the nineteen forty's and the high level of resentment they faced by the National Baseball League.

    Chadwick Boseman plays the lead role of Jackie Robinson and gives a worthy performance, although he does stubble in some of the more serious scenes. Harrison Ford also highlights this film as the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers at the time, Branch Rickey. He is by far the standout of the film and delivers on the usual Ford talent; if you are able to maneuver past his raspy voice.

    42 is written by Brian Helgeland, who wrote the screenplay for L.A. Confidential, but his talent, however does not translate very well over to this film. To be frank, the screenplay is not good. It embodies the premise of mediocrity and exemplifies laziness and the inability to create serious dialogue. A few specs of light show through the seemingly unending cliché lines and useless and poorly written dialogue, but these few instance are not capable of saving the entire movie. Brian Helgeland also directed the film and provides a capable direction, although not memorable.

    The biggest problem with 42 is that it is complete waste of its own potential. The film has actors who have proved their talent and a director/writer who has exemplified his own worth. The film ultimately fails because of its lazy and lackluster construction, which is a huge disappointment because it could have been so much more. 42 is not the great film that it should be and does not do justice to the American hero it tries to embody.
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Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. Reviewed by: Mike McCahill
    Sep 22, 2014
    60
    Boseman hits his key scenes out of the park, making a swell couple with Shame's Nicole Beharie, while Helgeland stages Robinson's signature base-stealing with undeniable aplomb.
  2. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Sep 9, 2013
    60
    Already a hit in America, 42 is a well-told but square biopic doing justice to Jackie Robinson rather than exploring him.
  3. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Apr 15, 2013
    60
    Boseman is not a hugely close physical match to Robinson, except for perhaps in the power he conveys, but he’s a great choice to play the ball player, unfamiliar enough, despite a decade of small credits here and there, to feel like an athlete, not a movie star playing one.