OK for kids 11+
Inspiring Jackie Robinson biopic has great messages.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that 42 is an inspiring biopic about the two years in which baseball legend Jackie Robinson broke the sport's color barrier. It's not a complete biography -- just a snapshot of the 1946 and 1947 seasons. Expect many uses of the "N" word; but considering the institutional racism of the 1940s, the word is important to convey the times. Other racial slurs include "boy," "monkey," and "coon"; other language includes occasional use of words like "s--t" and "a--hole." There are a few near fistfights between the Dodgers and opposing players, and at one point a fellow Dodger pushes Robinson; a fight almost ensues. Despite the difficult language and serious themes, the movie offers important historical and ethical lessons for younger viewers and sports fans.
- Families can talk about 42's themes and messages. Why are Jackie Robinson's accomplishments so significant? Can you think of other athletes/public figures who've faced similar challenges?
- How have sports changed since the 1940s? Are some of the issues raised in the film still present?
- Talk about the difference between a biographical film that covers an entire life and those that concentrate on one time period of a historical figure's life. Which do you prefer? Why?
- Why are many sports movies so compelling? What are some good examples of inspiring sports movies?
The good stuff
Messages: In addition to its strong pro-equality/anti-racism messages, 42 promotes the idea that it's worth being considered an outcast to stand up for something important. Both Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey have to face a lot of persecution, but by staying steadfast in their goal, they rise above the negativity and threats to persevere.
Role models: Jackie Robinson, as portrayed in 42, was exceptionally restrained when up against the racism he constantly faced. He didn't engage those who ridiculed him, and he never instigated any conflicts. Branch Rickey was a remarkable man of faith and wisdom who knew he was breaking the "color line" and wanted to integrate baseball. Rickey calls people out on their racism and makes the other players see why whatever inconveniences they faced pale in comparison to the abuse and the threats Jackie faces. Dodgers Pee Wee Reese, Ralph Branca, and Eddie Stanky come around to be supportive of Robinson, and at least some of the characters who exhibit racism are punished/penalized.
What to watch for
Violence: The Dodgers nearly come to blows with the Pirates when the Pirates' pitcher hits Robinson in the head. This happens another time as well. Robinson and one of his own teammates nearly go fist to fist as well but are stopped by their fellow players. A Florida man makes it clear that there are a group of men on their way to cause "trouble" if Robinson doesn't leave town. After his encounter with the racist Phillies manager, Robinson gets so upset that he privately breaks his bat. An opposing player spikes him in the calf at first base.
Sex: Several marital kisses -- a few more passionate than others -- and scenes of Robinson and his wife in their bedroom (sometimes she's in her chemise, but the camera shows her from the waist up) talking and sometimes embracing. The only risque scene is when a man is shown in bed with a woman (he's shirtless, and she's in a nightie) who's saying innuendo-laced things to him while he's on the phone. It's later revealed that they're having an adulterous affair.
Language: Both the "N" word and "boy" are used several times, particularly in a game against the Phillies, in which an overtly racist team manager incessantly ridicules Robinson and calls him everything those epithets to "coon," "monkey," and many others. But the "N" word isn't used gratuitously, and its use is appropriate considering the movie's context. Usually when referring to African Americans, the word used is "Negroes" (historically accurate). Also a couple of uses of "s--t," "a--hole," "hell," "son of a bitch," "damn," "goddamn," and "ass."
Consumerism: Historically accurate shots of a Dodge car and a Budweiser ad and a few other fleeting ads in the baseball parks.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Adults are shown drinking in a couple of scenes. Also some smoking, particularly cigars (accurate for the era).
Fan Reviews provided by
42 Raises the Bar by bhlightnr
The anticipation was intense for this film. This is a must see film for all, not just baseball fans. The story is real and easy to follow. The only issue I had was that the film only focused on his baseball life and not into all aspects beyond his first 2 years in the Dodger organization, but that period that was shown was done very well. I liked the film overall.
42 by afisher1_jam1
This was a Great Movie. Harrison Ford you are wonderful as always. The new actor that played Robinson is Great!!!!. If a family is trying to raise respectable children and teach them history on the Rights we have as US citizens who work hard and want the American Dream, this is a movie to show them how a man of such character had to be treated to gain respect of being not only a man but a black man. This movie teaches not to treat people because of the color of their skin but treat people as you would like to be treated. The movie did not focus on religion but if you have any religion in you, you know that he was a man of God. Not for small kids but for mature kids.
42 by fredyt123
This movie is about the iconic Jackie Robinson. While the backdrop is major league baseball, the movie is much much more and focuses on how the sport changed our culture.
I predict at least 4 Oscar Nominations. Ford was brilliant in capturing the spirit of Branch Rickey. Bozeman made Jackie come to life and the actress who played Rachel was simply on the money.
The scenery and cinematography was very good. On another note, Wendall Smith the little known African-American journalist who wrote for the Pittsburgh Courier also had a great role. His story line was crucial to help understand Jackie's transition into the big league.
It was good to see director Hegeland capture Daytona Beach as it was at this venue when Jackie broke in and played his first game. Also, interestingly it was surreal to see the city of Sanford, Fl (Trayvon Martin) depicted but being only 30 miles from Daytona Beach, it was a nice twist so you could feel some of the anquish Robinson had to endure.
History Revisited by audbar
Old enough to have seen the origional, young enough to appreciate the new movie.
The acting was excellent and the historical perspective was accurate. It gave a glimps into our collective past and the way change affected our society as a whole. As Bob Dylan said, "The times they are a changing". It took courage and open minded people to make that change and the movie shows that. I was born in Brooklyn and saw our Dodgers play, nice job. Must see.
Homerun! by MedRed
42 is an amazing tribute to the great baseball legend, Jackie Robinson. It chronicles the events that lead up to his signing, his first season with the Dodgers, and the formidable challenges everyone (black & white) had to endure throughout.
42 is not a slow documentary. The scenes advance quickly with a focus on watching Jackie do amazing things on the baseball diamond.
Newcomer Chadwick Boseman gives a credible performance alongside a very impressive Harrison Ford. Nicole Beharie's acting is as beautiful as she is. Every actor captures.the emotion of the game and the shifting social climate.
Some of the scenes are tough to watch, but 42 does an excellent job of accounting for the racial aspect of the story in straightforward manner that highlights the progress the U.S. has made.
See 42 & be inspired!
There are bios of several characters during the beginning of the credits. There is nothing after the credits.
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42 by tpinka4
My kids ages 10 and 14, husband and myself went to see the movie on it's opening day. The movie although it did not depict the harsh racial action that Robinson endured,was still and eye opener for my kids to see what blacks had to overcome to get to where we are today. My son is a Black American baseball player and just happened to be given the number 42. Yes,the number 42. Now after seeing the movie he has much respect for the game he loves and the man that paved the way for him to be where he is today. A black teenager playing baseball in America. My son had his first baseball game of the season today, the day after the movie and boy did he hit and still those bases,he played with such confidence.My husband and i just laughed and said that's 42. They won. This was an experiencing for both of my kids because they have never had to experience seeing someone so hatefully calling a black person the N word. My daughter and son and I discussed the movie and over all We give the movie a 10
Excellent Film by dgezy
42 took on the challenge of bringing Jackie Robinson's story to life with a relatively unknown actor. Chadwick Boseman's performance was phenomenal and the story telling was as well. They really captured in a stunning way what Jackie Robinson went through and the transformation of baseball one man at a time. The movie concentrated on the lead up and first year of his MLB career. However I think there is more story left to explore going to his second year and the rest of his life. I'm not sure if there has ever been a part two in a biography but maybe Warner Bros will consider it. This movie can serve as a teachable moment as well so take your older kids and afterwards open a conversation on its importance.
42 by dvanatta
Excellent! Harrison Ford never better, but terrific acting all around. A true story about decency and morality that every American, and especially young people, should see and think about. But a moving love story, as well, and very engrossing entertainment.
42 by ilovemydog336
What a great movie!!!! Loved it- Was totally engrossed - I got an education as to what baseball was like back in the 40's.
Go see this movie
"42" esd s HIT!!!!!!! by rmartel58
I smiled, I laughed and I cried. The movie was extremely well done. Acting and directing was superb! I recommend this movie for people of all ages. It's historically priceless and unforgettable. And, it honors one of our greatest human beings.