Disney+ is starting to pump out original movies faster than we can say Mickey Mouse. Safety is the newest sports film on Disney Plus, based on a true story of former Clemson University football player Ray McElrathbey. I watched the movie with my two oldest kids and we’re going to give you a spoiler-free review on this family-friendly flick.
If you’re not familiar with his story (I wasn’t) Ray McElrathbey, played by Jay Reeves, is a young man facing a series of challenging circumstances.Try going to college (taking a full credit load), playing collegiate football, and raising and caring for your 11-year-old brother Fahmarr, played by Thaddeus J. Mixson. That was his plight.
Disney Plus Safety Parent’s Review
Naturally when watching a sports movie I want to compare it to other sports movies. The first ones that come to mind are Remember the Titans, 42, or Blind Side. What those movies had that this didn’t was star-studdedness. No Denzel, or Sandra Bullock. No Chadwick Boseman. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t good.
Safety had the tear-jerker moments and heartwarming story that is presented in a way all audiences can enjoy, even younger kids. Appreciating it for what it is–A family film, I can say it was done well.
My two oldest loved the story for different reasons–My 10-year-old daughter gravitated towards Ray Ray’s storyline at college and my 7-year-old son loved watching what the little brother was up to.
As a child of the 90s I enjoyed the throwback music and references, and I think it’s a movie that will move both young and old. Reminding us of the importance of family, both the one we’re born into, and the ones we choose.
While I don’t think Safety will go down as one of the best sports movies ever made (I personally have Queen of Katwe and Remember the Titans towards the top of my list), I do believe this movie will be played over and over in our home. Perhaps because it’s skewed younger. The storyline is easier for a younger crowd to follow, and the humor and jokes are age-appropriate for the whole family.
It’s worth noting, though it doesn’t dive extensively into the subject, the movie does touch on tough topics like drug addiction, and family social services.
Based on a True Story
Both were excited to know that the movie is based on a true story and loved watching the end credits where the real people were featured.
I had the opportunity to attend a virtual press conference with the cast where we were able to hear from not only the cast but Ray McElrathbey himself. I was excited to learn that the 34-year-old and I have a lot in common, from where we were born to where we grew up. However, I have yet to have a movie made about me.
When he learned Disney was making a movie about this story he said it was a surreal experience.
“It was something I’ve been praying for one-one would say,” Mc Elrathbey said. “So, I’m blessed and excited to have the opportunity to be here with all the people that are assembled to make this cast and crew to be part of my life forevermore, ’cause this is-it’s something I could have never thought of.”
A Powerful Message
One thing I found interesting is the fact that it’s based on a few months of his life. Many sports movies we’ve seen span seasons or even years.
They had to cut a lot out of the movie (the first cut was 3 hours long!) but they left the best things that are sure to move you. Which was the director Reginald Hudlin’s goal.
“One of the things that has been most gratifying is that people see the movie, they laugh, they cry and I, you know, that’s what I want,” Hudlin said. “If you’re laughing, you’re crying and you’re feeling inspired, then we’ve done our job.”
And they did their job. Our whole family had several moments of laughter and I had at least two moments that made my eyes water. It’s definitely worth the watch.
A Kid’s Review on Disney’s Safety
If you’re looking for a family movie for movie night, add this to your list because it’s an inspiring story based on reality that will keep even your younger ones entertained. A touch cheesy at times, but I think it adds to the charm for the younger viewers.
Here’s what my 7 and 10-year-old thought.
Did you like Safety?
Ty: Yes, I liked it.
Jayda: I really liked it.
What was your favorite part?
Ty: When they’re waking up so early and when the little brother is hiding.
Jayda: When he was first sneaking him in. And when all the football players came to cheer him on at the dance.
What lesson did you learn?
Ty: There’s no better gift than family, and you should help others.
Jayda: It’s good to help out when someone is struggling. Try to be a friend others can count on, and find friends that you can count on.
Would you say the movie is good for kids?
Ty: Yes, basically for grownups and kids.
Jayda: Definitely! It’s good for all ages but I think 8 and up would understand it best.
Want to see it again?
Jayda: YES! Right now!
Ty: Only if it’s with you guys. So basically I don’t like it, I don’t hate it.
Jayda: Really? I love it! I’d watch it by myself.
Ty: I thought it was very long.
Jayda: I thought it was long but very good.
Think you could be a good big sibling like that?
Jayda: Yea! It inspired me to be a better sibling. To help if something is wrong.
(I’ll be reminding them of that next time I ask them to help with their little sister)
Was it boring?
Ty: No! Of course not!
Jayda: No. It made me laugh a lot, I think it was very funny and I think other people will like it, like my friends.
Final Thoughts on Safety on Disney Plus
Jayda has already started replaying the movie, and I know the kids can’t wait to watch it with their dad–a huge fan of sports movies, or anything that begins with “based on a true story.” It’s not her typical choice of movie but the inspiring message is hard to miss. We’d do anything for those we love. And when there’s something important worth fighting for, you shouldn’t give up.
Thaddeus J. Mixson II who played Fahmarr in the movie said as much during the virtual press conference. When asked what advice he’d give to kids his age who are having a tough time like his character was he said he’d tell them not to give up.
“Because, eventually there will be something that’ll be very good that will happen.”
So whether you have sports fans or not in your home, I’d suggest adding Safety to your movie night watchlist. It’s now streaming on Disney+. Then come back and let us know what you think!
Wondering how our thoughts on Safety line up with your thoughts on other movies? Here’s a look at some of our other recent movie reviews: