42 Movie Review

42 is a biographical sports film that premiered in 2013 based on the iconic Jackie Robinson and his struggles to make it in the baseball league predominated by white individuals. The movie which was directed by Brian Helheland, stars a new comer Chadwick Bozeman. If you aren’t familiar with any of his movies such as “draft day”, I suggest you start with Captain America: Civil war just to get a feel of how talented he is. Even though he did not become a household name till recently, IMDB described his performance as “stellar performance deserving an Oscar”. He plays the title role of Jackie Robinson. A man who became the first person to break the color barrier in major league baseball. The movie also stars A list stars such as the internationally acclaimed Harrison ford who plays executive manager Branch Ricky. A visionary manager who knows the value of underrated talent. Other notable talent in the movie include Ryan Merriman, Lucas Black, Christopher Melonie, Alan Tudyk, Nicole Beharie and Hamish Linklater.

The plot of the film revolves around Jackie Robison. It tells the struggles African-American men endured in sports in the mid-20th century. An era where discrimination was still regarded as a norm. The use of the word “nigger” can even make your ears bleed. The movie takes us back to an era where the world was plagued by oppression based on race and color. Concurrently, it also tells the tale of Branch Ricky. An executive manager who only cares about one thing, “being rich”. In the movie he says “I don’t care if they like me. I dint come here to make friends. I don’t care if they respect me. I know who I am. I’ve got enough respect for myself. I just don’t want them to beat me”. This implies that the team’s success was his main goal.

Economic of sports by Michael A Leeds uses the Becker theory of discrimination by Gary Becker (1957) to evaluate discrimination in sports. The neoclassical theory has an assumption that individuals usually maximize the subject of utility to constraint. From the book it is evident that most economists would rather focus on the outcome of discrimination rather than its origin. Becker suggests that indulgence of discrimination usually comes at a hefty cost. Discrimination can be reduced by raising its cost. In the movie, Leo Doucher (coach) says “I don’t care if he is yellow, or black or has stripes like a zebra! If Robinson can help us win and everything I have seen he can, then he is going to play on this club! Like it, lump it, make up to it because he is coming.” From this quote it’s evident that the cost of discrimination which was increased was the championship title. The Players needed to fathom that a talented black man would be their messiah who would enable them reach the Promised Land (championship title). In the long run, Players finally realized Robison’s talent when they saw him past his skin color rather than his talent. The dodger won 2 out of 5 national pennants during Branch Ricky’s tenure at the dodgers.

Jackie Robinson will definitely still become a sports icon in the years to come. Without him, players like Derek Jeter and josh Gibson would have never come into existence. The vale that divided men due to race was broken by one man. A national icon. His story even be compared to the great Nelson Mandela who used sports to fight racism in his country. The movie is a must watch if you are an American sports fanatic. It will definitely show you how one man transcended everyone’s expectations through sports.

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