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Safety Is Just The Feelgood Film You Need In These Stressful Times


Starring  Jay Reeves,Thaddeus J. Mixson,Corinne Foxx

Directed  by Reginald  Hudson

Rating: *** ½

There  is not one bad character  in the  entire length  and breadth  of  Safety.And I  am  okay with that. Really.  We have  enough  of negativity and ugliness  to deal with  in real life. The movies should give us  the opposite.And Safety doe. In ample measures.  It is  a full-blown  feel-happy movie with dollops of  cheering life-reinforcing  sunshine spots  for us to bask in.

And  to know this is   a true story and not some  concocted Disney fluff stuff is even more reassuring.Yes,  we  will survive  this  crisis as long as we  care enough for humanity, put aside our narrow interests and pitch our tents in  the  heart  of civilization.

Safety is  about a promising black  football player Ray McElrathbey( Jay Reeves)who braves tremendous hardships  to  win a football  scholarship  to  Clemson  University. But then the unexpected  happens. Ray has  to take  guardianship of  his  kid brother.

The struggle to play  guardian  and to  keep his academic world  intact ,  is strikingly  adumbrated  by  Jay Reeves  who has  practically no  experience as an actor.He  looks every inch  the  harried ingenue . But  the real star of this happy-go-looking endeavour is  young  Thaddeus J. Mixson. As  Jay’s kid brother  Fahmarr, little Mr Mixson with his  large pleading eyes  and a demeanour that suggests  much resilience  in the face of adversity, steals  the show  from all the adults.

No wonder  he soon has them  all eating out of  the palm of his hands.Even the campus authorities  including the coaches,  agree to bend rules  so that young  Fahmarr can be spared a  remand  home.No one gets  all teary eyes and  sacrificial. It’s all done in the spirit of  if-not-now-then-when?

It is a poignant story with  tremendous  potential  for dramatic tension.The director  Reginald Hudlin keeps the  proceeding on an even emotional pitch. There are  scenes  with the heroes’ mother in drug rehabilitation  which  could have eventuated in a tsunami  of tears.  The  director keeps the tears  in check. There is a  life to be lived. You can’t afford  to mope around feeling sorry for yourself. At least Ray can’t. His  uphill task is to be  a father to his  sibling and  fair to his  own ambitions.

The  tears are held in check as  the highly emotional  story heads  gently towards  it (predictable) courtoom  finale. There is  nothing  here that  you can’t  see coming. But that’s the whole  charm   of this heartwarming film. It offers  the comfort  of the  familiar. To watch the entire campus pitching  in to  help Ray without  patronizing him is  to know  humanity  will survive. The  Covid be damned.

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