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‘Safety’ Brings Back The Magic Of Old-Fashioned Earnest Sports Dramas – Review

Safety (directed by Reginald Hudlin) is a drama inspired by the empowering story of former Clemson University football safety Ray McElrathbey (played by Jay Reeves).

The film follows Ray as he chases his dreams as a young college student where he not only has to balance school, athletics and social life, but he is suddenly faced with having to take care of his younger brother (Thaddeus J. Mixson) because their mother went to rehab to get better for her kids. With his entire future on the line, Ray struggles between doing what’s right for the brother he helped raise and doing what he needs to do for his own future.

(Courtesy of Disney+)

Remember the Titans to The Rookie and every sports drama in between, I have always been a fan of good sports biography movies. Growing up they always gave me the motivation to keep striving after my athletic goals. As a former collegiate athlete myself, I was eager to see a new coming-of-age sports movie that represented some of my own personal experiences. This movie definitely had the feel of the old school Disney classics which was perfect!

The cast is really what brings the best out of this movie. Jay Reeves does an incredible job of portraying the wide range of emotions of his character as Ray deals with obstacle after obstacle. Thaddeus J. Mixson and Reeves have a perfect brotherly relationship that truly is the heart of the film. Corinne Foxx, who plays Ray’s love interest and sports reporter Kaycee in the film was another highlight. Fox & Reeves on-screen chemistry feels authentic and it is refreshing to see more young Black relationships be captured on screen.

(Courtesy of Disney+)

Besides the leads, the whole ensemble is really strong. I felt like every character was fully developed in one way or another. One of the biggest themes from this movie is that a community can come together. This movie is the epitome of the saying, “it takes a village”, this message could not be more timely. Towards the end of the movie there was a very emotional and moving scene between Ray and his mother who is played Amanda Warren about the sacrifice they have to make to do the right thing. This scene almost had me shed some tears. Warren and Reeves deliver award-winning performances in my opinion.

Grammy-winning jazz musician/producer and composer Marcus Miller’s score for the film blends perfectly with the tone of every scene and really made the emotional beats hit on another level. This movie was incredibly well done and is exactly the kind of feel-good movie we need right now to get us through the rest of 2020. Even if you’re not particularly fond of sports movies, at the core of this movie is a story about family and persevering against all odds. You will laugh, you will cry but I can guarantee you will be walking away with a big smile on your face. Even if you’re looking for something to watch this winter break, make sure to add Safety to your list!  

Safety is now streaming on Disney+.

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