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Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 162 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Apr 11, 2013
    100
    Boseman is watchful, winning and confident, but never saintly. Yet he keeps Robinson’s moral spine aligned with his skill and self-respect, showing how he needed all of those to succeed.
  2. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Apr 10, 2013
    83
    Helgeland works in what I think of as a conservative — or maybe it's just really, really basic — neoclassical Hollywood style, spelling everything out, letting the story unfold in a plainspoken and deliberate fashion, with a big, wide, open pictorial camera eye. It's like the latter-day Clint Eastwood style, applied to material that's as traditional as can be.
  3. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Apr 11, 2013
    75
    Unfortunately, the generic bio-pic structure of 42 prevents it from ever becoming something great.
  4. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Apr 11, 2013
    63
    Treats its now-mythic Brooklyn Dodger with respect, reverence and love. But who's in there, underneath the mythology?
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Apr 12, 2013
    63
    It takes a particularly ham-fisted filmmaker to transform a fascinating and historically significant story into something as formulaic as 42.
  6. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Apr 15, 2013
    60
    Sixty-six years later, when a black man holds the Presidency, equality may still be, for some, unbearable, but Robinson abruptly moved America forward. 42, however limited at times, lays out the tortured early days of that advance with clarity and force.
  7. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Apr 9, 2013
    40
    The movie sugars up Robinson's story, and like too many period pieces it summons some vague idea of a warmer, simpler past by bathing everything in thick amber light, as if each scene is one of those preserved mosquitoes that begat the monsters of Jurassic Park.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 59
  2. Negative: 5 out of 59
  1. May 16, 2013
    10
    The Bottom Line
    A too self-consciously inspiring rendition of Jackie Robinson's genuinely inspiring accomplishment of breaking baseball's
    color barrier.

    Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford provide engaging performances as Jackie Robinson and Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey in the Legendary/Warner Bros. drama about the man who broke MLB's color line. Pretty when it should be gritty and grandiosely noble instead of just telling it like it was, 42 needlessly trumps up but still can't entirely spoil one of the great American 20th century true-life stories, the breaking of major league baseball's color line by Jackie Robinson. Whether in the deep South or the streets of Brooklyn, life here looks spiffy and well-scrubbed enough to appear in a department store window, while the soaring musical accompaniment seems to be stamping all the protagonists' passports for immediate admission to that great ballpark in the sky. All the same, lead actors Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford cut through the artifice with engaging performances as Robinson and Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, respectively, and audiences who don't know much about the first black man to play professional baseball will be suitably impressed. Hit-starved Warner Bros. should be able to stir moderately good attendance domestically, although foreign prospects, as always with baseball yarns, are slight. The key scene in 42, just as it was in the low-budget 1950 The Jackie Robinson Story, which starred the ballplayer himself, comes when Rickey, warning his prospect about the abuse that inevitably awaits him, demands to know if he's “got enough guts not to fight back” when provoked by other players or fans. Robinson was not the best player in the Negro Leagues, but he was reckoned to be the one who might best withstand the trial by fire posed by teammates who didn't want to play with him and a society that often wouldn't allow him to travel, eat or lodge with the rest of the team. Needing a manageable window through which to dramatize a sports breakthrough fraught with racial, social, political and attitudinal meaning, this pet project of writer-director Brian Helgeland and producer Thomas Tull zeroes in on the years 1945-47, concluding with Robinson's first year in the majors. Although there is quick mention of a sports career at UCLA (which, the film does not note, had the most integrated sports program of any school in the U.S. at the time) and a quick temper that earned him an Army court-martial, the 26-year-old member of the American Negro League Kansas City Monarchs seems like the picture of rectitude, a well-spoken young man with a lovely wife-to-be, Rachel (Nicole Beharie), and none of the wild traits of some of his teammates. As one of the last century's most inspiring and literally game-changing personal sagas, Jackie Robinson's life can hardly help but be stirring and will no doubt impress many younger viewers, some of whom may be completely unfamiliar with his story. It's just too bad that Helgeland can't go for broke and get his uniform as dirty as Jackie Robinson used to do.
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  2. Apr 22, 2013
    9
    When I was a kid, I liked baseball. Even when I got older and joined band, I still liked to watch to watch a good baseball game. I learned about Jackie Robinson in school once, but all I knw was that he was the first African American to play baseball. This movie tells you the whole story of how Jackie Robinson got to play baseball on the Dodgers. While there are a few flaws, this movie is a movie you want to see. 9/10. Collapse
  3. Jul 13, 2014
    9
    I woke up this morning after renting 42 The Jackie Robinson Story thinking "Why didn't we see this movie sooner!" Tonight my children will watch it. It is an inspiring and motivating story; one to stimulate reflection on our own behaviors and promote mankind. This movie is for those all ages who are looking for a good story, history and the love for the game of baseball!

    Harrison Ford played Branch Rickey, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was a man who fought against the norm by believing in and signing a colored man in 1946 to play in the Major Leagues. Harrison Ford was convincing; he was a true image of Branch Rickey! I say Branch Rickey is a hero! Chadwick Bossman played Jackie Robinson, a handsome young athlete who was an incredibly talented baseball player. Jackie Robinson experienced public humiliation and harassment because of his race. Jackie and his wife were forced to be courageous and power through societies harsh racism! He let his talent speak for himself and he became a hero to many! I think the producers did an excellent job of sharing his story. In real life it wasn't nearly as clean as the movie demonstrated, however I believe the points of racism and how he changed the game of baseball forever were tasteful and well made.
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  4. Apr 12, 2013
    8
    Everyone should go see 42, baseball fan or not. Really a great movie and makes you understand how horrible segregation and racism was back then. Jackie Robinson is a true hero for what he did. He not only affected baseball, but probably affected other sports and the civil rights movement also. Expand
  5. Aug 16, 2013
    7
    42 really accurately represents Jackie Robinson's life and what he had to go through.
    With amazing acting from all of the actors, especially
    Harrison Ford. The acting is so amazing it really makes you hate the racist coaches and players and the movie ends up touching your heart. although the movie can be slow at sometimes, when you're walking out of the theatre, you don't regret going a bit. Expand
  6. 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
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  7. Jul 8, 2013
    0
    generic racism is bad message is broadcast for over two hours.
    The story is filled with fairytale characters. Everyone is either racist or a
    black person lover. The rest of the character traits disappear into the abyss. Due to this the character interaction is wooden. The hero himself is uninteresting as everything is handed to him by his white boss making his struggle moot.
    Nothing good in this movie other than excellent cast but it fails to save this picture.
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See all 59 User Reviews

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