42 (2013) review

Jackie Robinson's a supporting player in his own life story

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Jackie Robinson might’ve been the first African American to play Major League Baseball, but he’s only a supporting player in this golden-hued history lesson.

Instead, Brian Helgeland’s self-consciously important biopic focuses on the white men who anointed/opposed Robinson (Chadwick Boseman): idealistic exec Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), the manager who backs him (Christopher Meloni), a racist rival coach (a vile Alan Tudyk) and conflicted teammates.

It’s a schmaltzy, sanitised take on a tumultuous time, but even without edge or insight the story hits an emotional home run.

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