Safety (2020)

DailyView: Day 291, Movie 410

Football films for the DailyView continued this morning in honor of the Super Bowl with a film that was released late in 2020 on Disney +, a film that I had never heard of before. Safety is the true story of Clemson football player Ray McElrathbey who, because of troubles at home, had to take in his younger brother while trying to continuing to play football for the Clemson Tigers.

Ray McElrathbey (Jay Reeves) was a freshman at Clemson, filled with a brutal schedule between practices and a heavy class load, when he found out that his mother (Amanda Warren) had been arrested again for possession and was being placed in a recovery program. Instead of letting his brother Fahmarr (Thaddeus J. Mixson) be placed into the system during their mother’s program, Ray decided to take him with him back to Clemson to hide him out in the dorms.

This would not last though as the difficulties of what he was trying to accomplish started to weigh on Ray, affecting his football play and classwork. When they found out that their mother was going to continue in the program after the original 30 day plan, Ray had to make some changes.

After initially sending Fahmarr back to the system, Ray returned and brought his brother back. With some aid from his coaches and his team, Ray and Fahmarr began to adjust to their new normal. The problem was that the NCAA began investigating the case for improper gifts and help for a student athlete.

I have to say that this was so much better than I ever expected it to be. Sure there were the typical Disney movie cheese surrounding the story, but it worked surprisingly well. At the end, I was shocked to find my eyes watering up, even during some of the more saccharine sweet moments.

Jay Reeves, who had not a ton of credits on IMDB, does a really good job as the brother desperately trying to figure out how not to lose either of his families. He had a good chemistry with young Thaddeus Mixson and they made a wonderful pair of siblings. I believed everything with them.

While this may not be as great as some of the best football movies (Remember the Titans springs to mind), Safety is a solid film and of higher quality than I expected from a direct to Disney + film.

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