SAFETY is a drama inspired by the empowering story of former Clemson University football safety Ray McElrathbey (Jay Reeves), a young man facing a series of challenging circumstances, whose dedication and persistence help him to triumph over repeated adversities. Aided by his teammates and the Clemson community, he succeeds on the field while simultaneously raising and caring for his 11-year-old brother Fahmarr (Thaddeus J. Mixson).
Movies that have to do with sibling relationships are hard for me to watch these days. Safety was met with some trepidation from me because I didn’t want to see a feel good movie about an older sibling with their younger sibling since two of mine have passed on. Except, I did want to see it. In all of its Clemson orange glory, Safety left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling, that was exactly what Disney wanted from audiences I’m sure.
Mostly, I was reminded of how tough college was for me after becoming a mother my junior year, and attempting to juggle a newborn son with classes and working full-time. In Safety, Clemson Safety, Ray McElrathbey, struggles to raise his younger brother Fahmarr, as their mother does a stint in prison. Usually, these stories have me rolling my eyes because there’s always a sense of Black struggle, but Safety doesn’t dwell on that for too long. The movie instead chooses to focus on the hijinks of raising a child without members of your school or Athletic Department knowing just what you’re doing.
When the big reveal of what Ray has been dealing with comes to light, he lets the community know that he’s not looking to be a charity case – boy do I know this sentiment – and if memory serves correctly, he’s been doing a fine job until they found out. With the support of the reporter he’s trying to woo, Kaycee, he comes to realize that family is much more than blood. What a cliche, right? Safety doesn’t hold back when it comes to the cliches, both football and others, but it also doesn’t feel like they are piling on (see what I did there?) to the point of frustration.
I know that this year, we all needed a feel-good movie, even if it’s based on a true story. Safety is it, even if it does sometimes feel like a high-end recruitment video for Clemson University at times.
I can say that the soundtrack is amazing, and made me and my husband recall the songs that were the soundtrack of our early 20s and where we were at the time. It does well to move the plot along, and like any good musical choices, really seals the feel of the movie.
With a rating of PG for some gritty scenes, Safety is still something the entire family can enjoy, and discuss. Topics can include perseverance, knowing when to ask for help, and how family dynamics aren’t always a mother/father to child relationship.
Check it out now on Disney+