Thank you Disney for giving me the opportunity to watch and review the Film Safety. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
It’s the beginning of college football season and Ray McElrathbey (played by Jay Reeves) is experiencing first hand what it means to be a freshman football player at Clemson. The football program is intense and in between ice baths to sooth his sore body, he’s trying to keep up with 18 units (6 classes!!) In between flirting with a beautiful student and trying to bond with his new roommate, his little brother Fahmarr calls him constantly to check in.
Ray heads back home to see his brother and realizes that his brother has been hiding the truth from him. It’s a stressful scene and made moreso when he realizes that his little brother is alone in the apartment they lived in because his mom Tonya is back in jail. A tough decision has to be made- will Ray let Fahmarr go to foster care or will he take him in?
Ray decides to bring Fahmarr back to Clemson and to hide him in his dorm room. This of course turns out to be an absolutely terrible idea and of course Ray gets caught. What follows is some heartwarming moments of Clemson actually stepping up to assist Ray with finding off campus housing. The NCAA is the villain of this movie, eventually investigating Ray for getting additional benefits. The ending is sweet and much needed in a world that seems to punish college athletes for even a hint of impropriety even when there is none.
Sports movies are usually hit or miss but this one is solid with a relatable cast and an Amazing soundtrack. I liked how the movie didn’t shy away just how much trauma the brothers have experienced in their short lives but how that doesn’t prevent them from caring about each other. It’s hard for Ray to trust people and let them into to his personal problems and that is reality. I do think that the movie missed a huge opportunity to go deeper into Black trauma but I appreciate that the movie showed just how much Black brothers lean on each other in a world that seems very unfair to them.
Two things to note about this movie, one it totally skips over Tonya’s history simply showing her as a drug addict but never making a point to show just how much the crack/ heroin epidemic has decimated communities. Also the NCAA and Clemson University come off as pretty heartless (especially Clemson in the beginning of the movie) but Clemson University does redeem itself with being supportive to Ray after he admits that he has been hiding his brother in the campus dorm.
Safety has an amazing soundtrack. It’s set in the 90’s which was the height of a mash of Hip Hop/R&B and there were at least 3 or 4 times I caught myself singing along. With songs by H.E.R. and Marcus Miller, it’s a great stocking stuffer for R&B lovers.
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). Here is a link to the SAFETY trailer:https://youtu.be/m0j8O2swT5o
Safety is streaming on Disney+ now!