by Matt Slick
I'm probably one of the very few guys on the planet who has absolutely no interest in following sports, any sport. I don't know why, but that's just the way it is. So, when a movie about baseball came on the scene, I automatically categorized it as something to pass up. But a friend of mine told me there was a good Christian theme presented. Really? Hollywood allowed Christians to be portrayed favorably? Has anyone checked the temperature of hell lately? Well, I was intrigued. I had to see it, and I'm thoroughly glad I did.
The story is about Jackie Robinson (played by Chadwick Boseman), who breaks the color barrier in major league baseball and faces an onslaught of prejudice, bigotry, and racism. He has to stand strong and not stoop to the level of those who judge him based on the color of his skin rather than his athletic ability. Such was the case in racist America in 1947. And stand he does.
Jackie is urged by the Dodgers' General Manager, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), to not retaliate and return evil for evil but to "turn the other cheek." It is obvious Rickey is a Christian, a Methodist in fact, who was a good man. A good Christian man?
I still can't get over how Hollywood didn't make Rickey out to be a bigoted hatemonger who scares children and is somehow involved in a plot to persecute homosexuals and take away women's' rights to kill their unborn children. Now, where is that thermometer again?
Anyway, Jackie faces an onslaught of prejudice. The worst of it was from Ben Chapman (Alan Tudyk), the Philadelphia Phillies manager who throws out the N-word so many times and with such disdain that we are drawn into feeling the anger that Jackie must have felt. I found myself wanting to get out of my seat, walk up to the theater screen, and beat the living daylights out of Ben Chapman for his callous, racist bigotry.
So, when the ultimate victory of Jackie's perseverance comes shining through, you're left with an uplifting feeling of satisfaction at the vindication of a man who is measured by his talent, not his race, and who did not let the worst of his accusers get the best of him.
Should you go see this movie? Absolutely.