‚ÄúI‚Äôm no movie critic,‚ÄĚ Michelle Obama insisted. But the first lady/Oscar presenter sure sounded like one Tuesday, giving an effusive rave to a new film about Jackie Robinson and the integration of baseball.
‚ÄúTruly powerful,‚ÄĚ she said of ‚Äú42,‚ÄĚ which she and the president saw in a private screening. ‚ÄúWe think everybody in this country needs to watch [it].‚ÄĚ
The first lady‚Äôs remarks about the movie took place in the State Dining Room, where she hosted film stars — Chadwick Boseman who plays the legendary slugger, and Harrison Ford, who plays Branch Rickey, the Dodgers exec who signed him — director Brian Helgeland, and Robinson‚Äôs widow Rachel, for a discussion with local school children.
For the unofficial critic-in-chief, ‚Äú42‚ÄĚ is clearly the biggest smash since — well, since February, when she lauded ‚ÄúBeasts of the Southern Wild‚ÄĚ as one of ‚Äúthe most powerful and most important‚ÄĚ films she‚Äôs seen.
The first lady said she burned with emotion during ‚Äú42‚ÄĚ watching the ‚Äúoutright discrimination‚ÄĚ the Robinsons faced, ‚Äúfrom the fans in the stadium to the airport receptionist, even from some of his own teammates.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI was mad just watching the movie,‚ÄĚ she added. But the Robinsons ‚Äúmet hatred with decency.‚ÄČ.‚ÄČ. I want you all to keep that in mind.‚ÄĚ
She emphasized that society has changed since Robinson integrated the game in 1947. “I mean, there‚Äôs work to be done, but things have changed.¬† Major League Baseball is fully integrated. . .¬† There are no more ‚ÄėWhites Only‚Äô signs posted anywhere in this country. . . Although it still happens, it is far less acceptable for someone to yell out a racial slur while you‚Äôre walking down the street ‚ÄĒ it still happens, but not tolerated.¬† That kind of prejudice is simply just not something that can happen in the light of day today.‚ÄĚ
Update: Guess who else was there? Bryce Harper, apparently.