by Ken Korman
The story of how Jackie Robinson broke the color line in professional sports against all odds in 1947 is something every kid in America should know. For that reason alone, we should be grateful for writer-director Brian Helgeland’s new Robinson biopic 42. The movie manages to capture something of Robinson’s extraordinary resilience and it gets the on-field details right. But 42 is all broad strokes and old-fashioned Hollywood hokum. In 42’s world, there were good people who supported Robinson and bad people who opposed him, which hardly scratches the surface of racism in America — then or now. And the story’s natural dramatic impact is blunted by the film’s relentless gee-whiz tone. While 42 may offer a crucial bare-bones history lesson, it strikes out when the game’s on the line.