42 (12A)


Chadwick Boseman (The Express), Harrison Ford (Raiders of the Lost Ark), Nicole Beharie (Shame), Christopher Meloni (Man of Steel), Ryan Merriman (The Ring 2), Lucas Black (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift), Andre Holland (Bride Wars), Alan Tudyk (I, Robot), Hamish Linklater (Battleship), T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy), John C. McGinley (Wild Hogs)


Brian Helgeland (A Knight’s Tale), director, writer; Thomas Tull (Pacific Rim), producer; Mark Isham (Crash), composer; Don Burgess (The Muppets), cinematographer; Peter McNulty (The Master) and Kevin Stitt (Cloverfield), editors


The biographical account of Jackie Robinson (Boseman), an African-American baseball player who in 1946, despite the racial tensions between his players and fans both on and off the field, became the first black player on an all-white Major League baseball team thanks to the beliefs and efforts of team executive Branch Rickey (Ford)…


Baseball, as you should expect, is not a wild favourite among sports fans in the UK. Most of us don’t even play it, choosing rounders or cricket in its favour. So when a new film comes along to British cinemas that puts itself firmly into the “baseball” sub-genre of sports films – joining other films like A League of Their Own, Angels In The Outfield and many more – it’s likely that it won’t garner much of a following in a country where the sport is practically non-existant.

But it’s probably no surprise to know that 42 has been a break-out hit in the States, which is more than enough to grant it an international showing, although not entirely for the reasons you might think. Yes, the film may have the art and craft of baseball running through its veins, but it is primarily a biographical account of the life of one player in particular who changed the face of the sport forever: Jackie Robinson.

Making history by becoming the first African-American player to join an all-white team and then the first coloured Major League athlete in the sport, Robinson had to overcome severe cases of prejudices and segregation laws in order to win his peers and fans over… or at least, that’s how this dramatic account plays out, anyway. With the recent American successes of films like The Help and Django Unchained, it’s clear that audiences love racism in a historical context (it’s a lot better than it may sound!) so it’s little wonder that the prejudices seem to be a major contributor to the narrative in this film in order to add more depth to itself and garner more of an interest to the general public.

And as is already established, this direction in the on-screen story of Jackie Robinson paid off during its Stateside release earlier this year, earning nearly $100 million at the box office. Not bad for a film that isn’t a major blockbuster, has one major star in its cast – that being Harrison Ford as Major League executive Branch Rickey – and is about a sport that has had limited success with audiences prior.

But the question of whether 42 will extend its appreciation to international cinemas such as in the UK is still unknown – will we be taken in by the inspiring true story of an American hero, or will it be disregarded as yet another hokey, Lifetime-esque sports movie that Brits won’t care about and, even worse, won’t entirely understand? While the answer might be obvious, it’s up to you to go see it to find out. After all, every film needs an audience and whether it’s your thing or not, you can be guaranteed that it’s going to be a warm-hearted, fun time.



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