We’ve all heard friends, film critics, and advertisements in one way or another, tell us, “You need to see this movie!” But how often does that kind of endorsement come from the White House? Well, it did today, when First Lady Michelle Obama talked about the film 42, which follows the story of Jackie Robinson becoming the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball, before a crowd of 80 students gathered in the State Dining Room at the White House for a film workshop.

President Barack Obama and the First Lady saw the biopic this weekend at a White House screening. Their two daughters were away, but Michelle Obama said that “they are definitely going to watch this movie.” And her children aren’t the only people she recommends the film to: “We think that everybody in this country needs to watch this movie,” she said. “We walked away from that just visibly, physically moved by the experience of the movie, of the story.”

She continued, “It was the raw emotion that it just makes you feel after the experience…. You’re left just asking yourselves, how on Earth did they live through that? How did they do it? How did they endure the taunts and the bigotry for all of that time?”

In addition to the serious endorsement of the history-based film, she had some light-hearted compliments for the stars of 42 who were in attendance at the workshop. Of Harrison Ford (who plays the manager that signed Robinson to the Dodgers in 1947), Michelle Obama told the crowd of students, “So you think you trip because I’m here? I’m tripping out because [Ford]’s here!” As for Chadwick Boseman, who plays Robinson, she said, “He’s as cute as he was in the movie. Just admit it.”

Writer-director Brian Helgeland and Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson, were also in attendance. The White House released Michelle Obama’s full remarks from the event; they available to read here.

42 opens in theaters on Friday, April 12.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmilyNRome

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  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 128 minutes
  • Brian Helgeland