The movie 42 is a sports drama based on the true events of the life of Jackie Robinson played by Chadwick Boseman. It's based on the events that took place in the years after the Second World War when racial segregation was at an all-time high. During this period, African-Americans were treated inhumanely and not allowed to mix with the white folks in public place or even participate in some sports. It focuses on the life of Jackie Robinson, a professional baseball player who fought against all the odds to overcome the racial divide and play in an all-white team. The film portrays Robinson as a bold, honorable athlete which is exactly who he was. The decision by Mr. Ricky to have Robinson as a player on the team is not welcomed by his colleagues, teammates, the media and its fans. He, however, stands his ground and advice Jackie to be strong and exercise self-control and not to react in anger as this would be very challenging for him. He goes ahead and tells him that he needs a player who doesn't so much have the guts to fight back as the guts not to fight back.
Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and paved the way for the civil rights movements against Jim crow laws that sought to keep the races from mixing. The hostility from the crowd and his fellow teammates is visible as he is regularly on and off the field even when they need him. The challenges that he faced are scary and inhuman form all parties involved except the colored community who supported his success. His fellow teammates even signed a petition to have him kicked off the team as they did not want to associate with him.
Despite being booed by the fans, the pitchers from Philadelphia Phillies delight in beaning him while their coach Ben Chapman (Alan Tudyk) shout down at him from the sidelines calling him Negro. However, he keeps his cool and does not react to the insults but continue playing. Even though he is enraged by the insults, he manages to remain calm since he understands that he is not allowed to defend himself against his offenders because they would paint him as menace due to his color. Robinson had a very effective coping mechanism. He played his very best and used his athletic prowess to taunt the players as a way of working through his anger rather than fighting back. He found a better way to beat them at their own game all the while retaining his self-respect and sanity.
Jackie Robinson's boldness to play in an all-white team and maintain such high levels of integrity shocked most people. Despite the overwhelming number of challenges that he faced, he remained calm, which encouraged more people to fight against the segregation laws. He became an inspiration to many and proved that even people of color could compete with white folks on an intellectual level. Although the segregation did not end immediately, he played a major role in the events that followed. He was a man who apart from his athletic prowess and education had also served his country and so a patriot per se. He gained recognition for his numerous participation and the controversies that followed his career.
In conclusion, the movie 42 is a fitting tribute to the lives of two men who are considered heroes. Robinson and Ricky risked a lot to send a message to all of America. The risked a lot by going against the social norm, which set a good precedent for the event that followed later on in the fight against racism and racial segregation. The impact they had on the society was what made the event that transpired afterward possible. Racism is demeaning and as Edmund Burke said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing"
42 The Jackie Robinson story, directed by Helgeland, Brian. Performances by Chadwick Boseman, Harison Ford, Nicole Beharie, Alan Tudyk, and Lucas Black, Warner Bros, 2013.
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