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FILM FANS: '42' is more than just baseball

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Special Photo: Warner Bros. From left, Brett Cullen as Clay Hopper, Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson and Harrision Ford as Branch Rickey in the movie "42."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: "42." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

4 stars out of 4 stars

Can I give this movie 42 stars? It was very good. Thoroughly enjoyed this film and I am obviously not alone as the movie audience was all clapping at the end.

I thought Chadwick Boseman was awesome playing Jackie Robinson, very believable and he had you rooting for him the entire film. Harrison Ford was a great Branch Rickey with many powerful lines.

Loved that it was the true story, loved his wonderful relationship with his wife, loved his brave fight against prejudice. The movie did a solid job of showing the good and bad and ugly of people reacting to a changing world and their own racism.

The baseball scenes were very engaging and also enjoyed the dynamics of his team players and the range of emotions and acceptance. There were several touching scenes of friendship and the human heart. (A fun side note is a Duluth resident, Jasha Balcom, was the stunt man for Jackie. Small world!)

Would definitely recommend this movie. It was a home run!

-- Cindy Evans, Duluth

4 stars out of 4 stars

Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) was the first African-American to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) chose Jackie, but Jackie was the one who had to choose to be brave enough to not fight back when he was ridiculed and threatened. Money played a large role in the turnaround of many of the players and coaches who eventually came to accept Jackie as a part of the Brooklyn Dodgers team. For Rickey, appearances were important. He was adamant everyone on the team accept Jackie. He was a man on a mission, and he would not hesitate to deal with those who got in the way of that mission. He was not above calling people out on their religious beliefs to make it happen either.

The film dealt more lightly with the race issue than I expected, but it did touch some of the high notes. I found the film to be inspirational. Many people in the theater clapped at the end. Jackie did not see himself as a hero, just a ballplayer. Other people had to teach him he was making history. Little boys looked up to him. He needed to succeed not just for himself and his family but for his people. The movie is rated PG-13. I saw some children in the theater, but the racist language may be more than some parents want their children exposed to.

Some parts of the film were amusing. I enjoyed spotting the TV stars who were part of the cast. I wish the movie had dug deeper into Jackie's personal life, but overall it was a good movie and worth seeing.

-- Deborah Hurd, Bethlehem

3.5 stars out of 4 stars

Fortunately, I grew up in the Midwest and knew nothing from an experiential standpoint of the racial tensions that existed in the South. Although I now live here in Gwinnett County, I still cannot understand why blacks were treated the way they were. It is good to be reminded every once in a while what some people have had to live through and how, for the most part, that attitude has been wiped away.

The movie was very well done and both actors for Jackie and his wife did a great job. Harrison Ford also did an amazing job of playing a role for a much older man than he is. One of my favorite quotes was when the ball club owner was talking to Jackie about playing on his team, Jackie said something to the effect of, "You want someone who doesn't have the guts to fight back?" Ricky Branch then said, "No, I want someone who has the guts to not fight back." Many times it takes much more character to peaceably avoid the conflict and this was well portrayed.

If you like baseball, you should really see the movie. However, it is about much more than baseball and anyone will enjoy the movie. I hadn't seen the theater as packed as it was when I viewed it and there were moments of outright laughter and even clapping at the end of the movie. I think all races of people will enjoy it and gain some understanding from watching it.

-- J.P. Zinn, Lawrenceville