The word most often used to describe Robinson was "gentleman." He suffered abuse and ridicule but rose above it. And he was a fantastic player.
The film gets at most of this--about how Robinson had to rein in his natural disgust at racism, how he had to turn the other cheek. When people threw insults, when they belittled him his reaction was, legendarily genteel. He not only was a great player; he had class.
The film also shows Robinson's rise and the adversity he faced. It shows him as a man, a teammate and a husband.
Chadwick Boseman turns in a fine performance as Robinson. He is charming anddoesn't play Robinson as an icon but rather a human being. He gets angry. He resists the notion that he shouldn't fight back. He struggles.
There isn't a great deal bad to say about the movie. It is professionally done, never lags and the acting is pretty solid throughout--with one surprising exception.
Harrison Ford turns in a truly uneven performance. He occasionally delivers in scenes with Boseman but just as often he is mannered and overacts. He also gets a great deal of screen time. It is a strange performance for Ford.
Unfortunately Christopher Meloni as Leo Durocher doesn't get very much screen time.. He stands out as the flamboyant Dodgers manager but is there and gone. That has something to do with reality--Durocher was suspended during Robinson's rookie year.
It seems a little forced, especially since Robinson's Dodgers didn't win the World Series in his first year. It wasn't the culmination of his career. Why didn't the movie focus on his Rookie of the Year award? It was the first ever such award. Or how about more time in spring training? More spring training would have given more potential interaction between Robinson and his teammates. Even some more mention of Robinson's struggles on the field when he moved from short to second base would have been welcome and add a new (and true) dimension.
Even the titles at the end don't mention that Robinson played in six World Series, six All Star Games and was MVP in 1949. It does mention the Dodger's win in the 1955 World Series and his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, of course. Somehow it seems to add up to less than Robinson actually meant.
The movie works because of Robinson's story. It is moving in any form. The acting is mostly good, the direction professional and the writing mostly doesn't fly off the rails (some of the lines Ford has to articulate could be the issue with his performance though). It is a movie that would be a great way to introduce young people to Robinson and his story but doesn't offer as much for the older folks who already know it.