HOLLYWOOD (WWJ) – “42 – The Jackie Robinson Story” recounts the story of the American baseball legend and hero. While doing so, the movie also tells the story of Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey, who went against the grain and fought against prejudice when he selected Robinson to become the first African American to play Major League Baseball.

While many people know about Robinson’s place in history, not so many people know what he went through while making it. That’s where “42” comes in.

Written and directed by Academy Award-winner Brian Helgeland, “42” takes viewers back to the pivotal years of 1945 through 1947, the year Robinson made his major league debut. And from the time Robinson signed with the Dodgers, it took tremendous fortitude for him not to turn back – despite the hatred he faced from the league, his own teammates and the public; hatred that also was directed at Rickey. But before Rickey signed Robinson, he knew what was coming, but decided to face it head on anyway.

I want a player who’s got the guts not to
fight back… Your enemy will be out in force,
and you cannot meet him on his own low ground…

You give me a uniform,
you give me a number on my back,
and I’ll give you the guts.

While “42” tells Robinson’s story, it also focuses very much on the relationship between him and the love of his life, his wife, Rachel Robinson. Mrs. Robinson says, “What I believed then, and still do, is that the challenges made us feel like it was the two of us against the world. We knew this was an experiment in social change that had to succeed, so any personal discomfort we felt had to be discussed and put aside for the greater good.”

Watching what the Robinsons had to endure “for the greater good” is emotional and heart-wrenching. It also carries a message.

“I want young people to know you can go through terrible times, but if you form strong relationships and use those bonds to keep you committed, you can make a difference,” Mrs. Robinson says.

The Robinsons definitely made a difference. And, baseball fan or not, this story is one well worth seeing. And when you go, be sure to take the kids along. The whole family will probably walk away inspired.

“42” stars Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson, Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey and Nicole Beharie as Rachel Robinson. Christopher Meloni stars as player-turned-manager Leo Durocher; Andre Holland plays Wendell Smith; Lucas Black stars as Pee Wee Reese; Hamish Linklater plays Ralph Branca; Ryan Merriman plays Dixie Walker; and Andre Holland stars as Wendell Smith, the first African American to be admitted to the Baseball Writers Association.

Visit the official “42” website here.

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