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Generally favorable reviews- based on 170 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 11 out of 170

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  1. Jul 23, 2014
    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.
  2. Aug 14, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Everyone thinks this is a good baseball movie, but aside from the lead actor, there is nothing I like about this movie! Granted the story is about a great baseball player, the acting absolutely SUCKS! Not even Indiana Jones can save this horrible atrocity of a movie! Mind you, this is just what I got from the PREVIEWS! Don't even waste your $10 on this DVD! Glad I didn't purchase it, or I'd ask 4 my damn money back! Expand
  3. Apr 29, 2013
    Hey, you know that trap of cheesiness into which sports films usually fall? Well 42 isn't in there because it is made out of cheese. 42 never left a lasting impression such as "Yeah, I would certainly want to see that again". Instead, it's basically a high school play with no depth. Granted, the actual baseball in the movie is done well, even though it constitutes a third of the movie overall. The rest of it is Jackie and racism. That's it. Racism, racism, racism. Yes, it was an issue at that time frame, but the movie beats the horse to death with another dead horse. The characters seem to be cardboard cut outs of stereotypical 40s characters, complete with really REALLY cheesy dialogue. I thought I tasted cheddar in my mouth as the little boy said "Dear Lord, please let Jackie show what he can do". I couldn't get the taste out until I hit the restroom. Expand
  4. Apr 26, 2013
    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 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.
  5. Apr 20, 2013
    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.
  6. Apr 14, 2013
    42. The biopic of Jackie Robinson. The story, while inspirational, seems like that was all it was. Now, this isn't necessarily the fault of the Director and Writer or anybody else involved with making this movie, but biopics are always set up to fail, whether it be the greatest biopic ever made, or the worst. They're all set to fail. But only the strong survive. This, however, wasn't strong. Ignoring the fact that throughout the entire duration of this movie, I felt like I was watching a TV movie, the story was a generic fallacy, which only covered a part of the legacy Jackie Robinson left behind. To get with the times, you must remember that back when Jackie Robinson was just starting with the, then Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, whites hated blacks. And if was a white sport, nobody wanted to do any business with blacks. Well, I get it. Those were the times, but it was the same ole generic response with the white folk is period movies like this, "I hate blacks!" or N****** ruin everything!" something of that tone. The tone of the movie felt bland and I wasn't emotionally invested into the movie as I should have. It was heavily corny at times, and wasn't as inspirational as the actual movie was. Disappointment was what I felt leaving that theater. Because a great, inspirational man's legacy was made a mockery of with this movie. Expand

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
    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
    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
    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.