For those born long after this era of baseball, it is difficult to imagine the struggles Jackie Robinson had to endure.Yet, he endured the unbearable threats, criticisms, and physical attacks to play the game he loved. As often said in the film, God built him to last. The level of hatred from every direction would have crushed a weaker personality. The audience receives a taste of living in the late 1940s as the story unravels.
The casting in the film is exceptional. After sixty years of segregation, Branch Rikey, played wonderfully by Harrison Ford, decided to shake up the game he loved. He knew consequences were going to follow. But he found the person who he felt could take it. Robinson is played convincingly by Chadwick Boseman. He brings the demeanor necessary to accurately portray such a well-known figure. His wife, Rachel (Nicole Beharie), is the back-bone of his success as she helped keep him focused on what's most important.
The overarching enjoyment of the film is watching the game of baseball itself from a much closer perspective than viewers normally experience. The cat-and-mouse game Robinson plays with the pitcher along with his level of anticipation during base running adds an extra dimension to the story. An important aspect of this issue is that Jackie was an excellent baseball player. His skill alone commanded respect from teammates, opponents, and fans alike.
The sacrifice he and his family made has positively impacted all of the players in the league today. More heroes are needed in this generation in order for the human race to continue to progress. Robinson, himself, said it best:
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." - Jackie Robinson