Sandra Varner/Talk2SV for Post Newspaper Group
Watching “42” on a giant movie screen feels surreal–like sitting in the crowded stands cheering for your hometown hero– but the reality of this epic masterpiece starring Chadwick Boseman, Nicole Beharie and Oscar nominee Harrison Ford, allows fans to relive the course of sports most iconic figure: Jackie Robinson and his emboldened triumph that ended segregation in major league baseball in the 1940s.
Helmed by Oscar winner, writer, director Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Man on Fire, Mystic River), “42” is told with a quality of realism rarely seen in contemporary films. Distributed and produced by Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, the filmmakers chose to illuminate a snapshot of Robinson’s ascension to world renowned status, shepherded by Branch Rickey, then general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
“42” is more than a history lesson, bigger than a moment in time, more powerful than a Hall of Fame distinction. Arguably, “42” holds a mirror up to what America was and what she is capable of becoming, a nation able to right its wrongs and celebrate our collective success.
Further, “42” does not compromise its powerful message in an attempt to entertain. After all, baseball remains one of America’s favorite pastimes; the film’s beauty, athleticism and intensity are equal rivals and the cast seemed born to inhabit their portrayals.
Boseman (Daytime TV’s All My Children) as Jackie Robinson was a brilliant choice: his silhouette, stance and facial features are spot on; Beharie (American Violet, T.D. Jakes’ Woman Thou Art Loosed: the 7th Day) as Robinson’s devoted wife Rachel, bring resolute tenacity, intelligence, with quiet elegance and; Ford as Branch Rickey is the big surprise.
Dashing as ever, the successful box office star of film franchises Star Wars and Indiana Jones, Ford completely surrenders to a gruffer Rickey– the indomitable, power-wielding though sensitized real life hero– who by comparison looms larger than the aggregate of Ford’s onscreen heroic characters that have catapulted his movie career for decades.
Regarding his first big leading role, Boseman explained that he had to meet the approval of Robinson’s widow, stating, “I had to prove to her that the way I wanted to tell the story was the right way to tell the story. She had the rights and wasn’t going to just sell them so I had to go and meet with her and break down how I was going to tell the story.”
Highly recommended family viewing, “42” opens in theaters April 12, 2013, in time to commemorate the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson Day, on April 15th.
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OF 7 – 42 – HELGELAND, BOSEMAN, FORD – 3.24.13