Friday, April 12, 2013

42: A Home Run

It was 1947 and something rotten was at the core of our beloved national sport. Although African American soldiers risked and lost their lives in World War II, major league baseball would not allow them to compete with white players on the ball fields of the country they defended.

Until, that is, Dodgers owner Branch Rickey (a superb Harrison Ford) had the guts to right this wrong. He brought in the man who'd make baseball history, number 42, Jackie Robinson.

Dumped into an ugly cauldron of bigotry, stupidity, fear and hatred — all well shown in this captivating and moving film — Robinson broke the Major League Baseball color barrier and changed more than a sport. In fact, some call this the beginning of the modern civil rights movement.

This is not the first time his courageous story has been told. But it is well done in this movie staring Chadwick Boseman — the new Denzyl Washington? — as the man who wore and retired the number 42.

It's a story of inspiration that moves us to think that change, however arduous, is possible and about the changes our country must now accomplish if we are to become a more civilized nation.

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