A major disappointment for me but I actually knew Hollywood would f&*k this story up.
I love baseball and the Robinson story but I really thought this film was pretty poor and didn't do the legend any justice. I thought the first 80-minutes of this movie were incredibly boring, slow, melodramatic and at times silly. I'm sorry but you can't try to "reach" or "move" the viewer every single second of a film. I thought the early scenes showing how the country were in the late 1940s didn't work at all. For starters, I think the filmmakers think today's viewers must be stupid and everything had to be spelled out. I think the racism should have spoken for itself and we didn't need everything blown up and we certainly didn't need the stupid music score going all crazy trying to get more emotion out of what was going on.
I thought the racism scenes were handled much better in the final forty-minutes when the film finally started to pick up. I thought things really got moving when the Philadelphia manager entered the picture. I thought the racism was much stronger here because we get to see the effect that it personally had on Jackie. These scenes were hard to watch and I liked how they showed what the effect had on Jackie's own teammates. Being from Louisville I heard of Robinson because of the connection to Pee Wee. I thought the scene in Cincinnati were incredibly effective and it's a shame that the entire film wasn't handled as well as this. I should also mention that I saw this right across the river from where the Reds played then and now.
I thought the performances were good for the most part....except for Ford. This role was another problem I had with the film as it seems like the filmmakers were pushing and making this role just so Ford would get an Oscar nom. Everything with the character just seemed to be a "highlight" for when Ford's name was mentioned at the show and they had to play a clip from the film. In fact, I thought the performance was rather hammy.
I'm not sure how others familiar with the story felt but there were several times in the film where characters mention that Robinson won't break and they mention how strong he is. I think the film really failed to show the impact that all of this DID have on Robinson as he died young and it appears many believe this was due to the stress and pain of these first few years in the majors. I think justice to Robinson might have been for someone like Spike Lee to tell the story or perhaps the upcoming documentary will do a better job.
** (out of 4)