42 is the story of Jackie Robinson and his start in major league baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers. It picks up just as WW II is ending and chronicles Robinson’s ascent from the negro leagues to the minor leagues to the Dodgers 1947 season. And it’s everything you think it is given the time is 1947… Here we go…

Story: I think because this is/was such a racially charged story, nothing is a surprise. I love biopics because I get to see all the behind-the-scenes details of an otherwise well known person or event. Jackie Robinson as the first black major league player is a well known struggle and the racial backdrop comes with the legacy.

So, the writer’s challenge in this case is to find details that aren’t either; Baseball or racial to make it stand out. We didn’t get a lot of that. The love story between he and his wife is nice, but, not so compelling. The rest was what you would expect – it was historical knowledge. Good but not great…

Performances: I was most moved by Harrison Ford’s portrayal of the Dodgers owner, Branch Rickey. My litmus test is if I have trouble seeing the actor in the character and I didn’t see Harrison Ford. I also thought Lucas Black as Pee Wee Reese was particularly good and Christopher Meloni as Leo Durocher.

Nicole Beharie as Rachel Robinson seemed too modern day to me and Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson didn’t make much of an impact on me.

Visual: So it looked like 1947. The scenery was accurate; The costumes were accurate and the dialogue fit. Again, good but not great.

Rating: I’m giving 42 a B- only because its an important story in American history and to tell it accurate should be enough. Worse could be sensationalizing the story, but, given the element of race, some of the dialogue was sensational just by its nature. Some of it was hard to hear, but, imagine living in that time and having to hear it as a way of life, not in the name of entertainment or education.

And for those reasons, 42 is a must see.