Our Opinion: Worth watchingPublished 11:38am Thursday, April 18, 2013
Monday was Jackie Robinson Day. Today, we encourage our readers to go see the film “42,” presently in theaters.
It tells the story of Robinson, the first black player in Major League Baseball, and of Branch Rickey, the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers who put Robinson on the diamond.
The two great men deal with blunt prejudice and hate in their effort to change the color-divided world of professional baseball in 1946.
Robinson showed tremendous courage and guts in his ability to show restraint and not react to the taunts and the racism. He lets his talent do the talking instead and thus paves the way for other black players to play. Today, Robinson’s number is retired from all teams in the Majors, and pro baseball is played by athletes of many skin colors and ethnic backgrounds.
The movie doesn’t portray Robinson as some over-the-top superhuman. Instead, it shows him as merely human, which makes his accomplishment stand out more starkly by contrast. This is a topic that easily could have been done poorly and awkwardly, but writer and director Brian Helgeland got it right, and actors Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman anchor the movie well.
Be prepared to hear racial slurs and witness racist situations common to the 1940s. Be prepared to see a wonderful story of overcoming adversity. Also be prepared to take pride in how America has changed so very much, thank goodness. Let’s also remember that we still have far to go.