Prior to April 12, this past year looked as if it was going to be largely unexceptional in regards to movies. Up until that date, the top box office films were “Scary Movie 5,” “The Croods” and “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” none of which were worth seeing. February brought us the Oscars, which allowed us to re-examine some of the best films of 2012, including “Argo,” “Life of Pi,” “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” Compared to these great films, the movies of early 2013 were complete flops.
Until April 12, that is. On that date “42” was released, and has proved to be the best movie of 2013 by far. “42” tells the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American Major League baseball player. As far as heroic sports movies go, “42” provides audiences with a feel-good movie that fits right in with others of its genre, such as “Miracle,” “Rudy” and “Rocky,” all of which show that hard work and dedication can pay off in a life-changing way.
The film stars newcomer Chadwick Boseman, whose portrayal of Jackie Robinson is excellent. Boseman shows moments of anger, joy, sadness and struggle, all of which were key aspects of Jackie Robinson’s personality and journey into Major League baseball. Also starring in the film is Harrison Ford, who plays Branch Rickey, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the man who took a chance as the first to sign an African-American ballplayer to the Major Leagues.
“42” has so far grossed over twice what the second-place film, “Scary Movie 5,” grossed in 2013. The movie portrays one of the greatest sports stories of all time. While some have called it predictable and clich?e, it could not have been produced and directed in any other way. Robinson’s story is so well-known and is such an example of real-life heroism that changing the story or adding twists and turns would have been inappropriate. Audiences have found great pleasure in the story itself from the signing of Jackie Robinson, to the raising of his newborn child, to his struggle with crowds and the media, to his eventual rise to stardom and induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. This is a case where the original story is all that is needed to produce an emotional and enjoyable movie.
Another great aspect of “42” is that it provides us with a look at how far we’ve come in addressing issues of race. The movie, which takes place in the ’40s, provides a glimpse into what it took for whites to accept African-Americans and what African-Americans had to go through in the name of integration. Both Jackie Robinson and his wife are a great example of the fact that if you have people who love and support you and you stick up for what you believe is right, you can become a catalyst for great change. The movie reminds viewers who may be frustrated with current social issues that change can come, and that we are capable of moving forward and accepting new ideas.
Though the majority of 2013 movies have been disappointing, “42” is certainly worth seeing. Its compelling story and endearing characters make it by far the best movie of the year, and one that all audiences can enjoy.