|Die Frankfurt-Tipp Bewertung:|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 128 min.|
|FSK:||From 0 years|
Sports films - especially those that deal with rather unpopular sports like baseball or football - generally have a difficult time in Germany. Too often the spectators let themselves be deterred by the sports theme, which is a pity in so far as interesting, beautiful, moving, exciting or amusing stories are often hidden behind the sports facade, which are denied such a broad audience. "42" is one such case. While the film, which immediately shot to the top of the cinema charts in the USA, superficially tells a story about baseball, the drama about sports legend Jackie Robinson is actually about a lot more: racism, overcoming prejudices and how a single person can change a lot.
It all starts with Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), manager of the Brooklyn Dogers, deciding in 1945 that it's time to break down the racial barriers in American Major League baseball. He hires the young player Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman), who will initially play for the Montreal Royals. There, in the Minor League, Robinson has to prove that he has what it takes for the Major League. But Rickey's attitude towards black players is not very popular with officials, coaches and players. And so Jackie strikes in the own team, with the opposing teams, but also in hotels, at rest stops or with the press a lot of rejection, hatred and humiliating malice against. It's hard for him to keep his fiery temper under control. But with the help of his wife Rachel (Nicole Beharie) and the unshakeable faith Rickey has in him, Jackie Robinson manages to defy racism and become a legend as number "42" of the Brooklyn Dodgers&.hellip;
Director Brian Helgeland ("Knight of Passion") tells the story about the legendary number "42" in a thrilling way, whereby he only uses a little too much pathos towards the end. Apart from that, the film triggers a lot of emotions without overly kitschy music or pompous dialogues. This succeeds because Helgeland has concentrated on a rather short, but nevertheless very intense part of Jackie Robinson's life instead of staging an extensive biopic. Since Helgeland was certain that the size and significance of the sports legend could not do justice to anyway, he wanted to at least make clear, by limiting the story to the beginnings of his career, what a difficult struggle Robinson had to endure and how he not only changed his life lastingly.
The plot of the film is essentially a classic heroic story, in which a human being brings about far-reaching changes by overcoming seemingly insurmountable resistance. The dramaturgical structure therefore offers little new in itself and could easily lead to tenacious boredom. But Helgeland knows very well how to avoid this. Despite a certain recognition value, his drama always remains powerful and engaging, which is not only because the whole is based on a true story. Rather, the director succeeds in making his story of the 1940s seem very topical and turning it into a very universal plea against prejudice, hatred and small-mindedness.
The whole thing is carried by an outstanding cast. In addition to Chadwick Boseman, who, like many of his fellow actors, had to undergo a hard baseball training beforehand, Harrison Ford is particularly enthusiastic as baseball manager, who stands up against the entire league in order to bring about a long overdue change. The good actors, the harmonious set and the great soundtrack, together with the good script, make "42" a great drama, which with a little bit of humor loosens up the difficult topic far enough, so that the viewer doesn't get too tired of the morality of the story. Rather, the entertainment value is clearly in the foreground here. The fact that a good and above all important story is told is a very pleasant side effect, which in the end only allows one conclusion: absolutely worth seeing!
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