Conversations from Family Movie Night: Disney’s “Safety”

This week, my family and I sat down for a movie night. We had heard a lot about the new Disney+ movie Safety, so we thought we’d give it a shot. We knew nothing about it before turning it on other than it had a Blind Side vibe to it, so we took a chance.

I am so thankful we did. The conversations that flowed from this feel-good movie were very surprising, hard, meaningful conversations. So I thought I’d take a minute to share some of what we talked about with our kids as follow up.

First, you should know that these were conversations with our seven and nine-year-old. Our youngest, five, watched with us, but he didn’t pick up on a lot of the nuances like our bigger kids did. I think any kid 5+ could enjoy this movie, but some of the subtle issues might go over their heads.

And it should be noted that this was not a big family meeting we sat down for. These were very quick, subtle conversations we had individually with each child. Over the years we’ve developed more of a quick bite over big meals mentality to discussing hard topics with our kids. We find they’re much more likely to talk to us about uncomfortable topics in small doses when the door is always open as opposed to sitting down for one big talk.

Family Fights for Each Other

Without giving too much away, I’ll share that a huge theme of the movie is that family never gives up. The movie centers on older brother Ray fighting to keep younger brother Fahmarr safe while their mother is in a rehabilitation facility. This family theme is also seen as the Clemson football team rallies to support them. This brought up a fantastic opportunity to discuss how family is more than just blood. While it’s important to us as an adoptive family, it’s also a great opportunity to discuss the importance of supporting classroom families, team families, and church families.

Perseverance & Grit

The title of the movie comes from Ray’s position on the team, but in my opinion, it speaks more to the theme of the film: protecting a brother’s safety at all costs. This is not an easy task for a freshman student athlete balancing practices, academics, and more. We see time and time again in the film where Ray refuses to give up on his brother despite obstacles, something we can likely all relate to after the grit we needed in 2020.

Foster Care

At one point in the movie, Fahmarr is removed from Ray’s care and placed in a group foster care facility. Though my kids have known several foster babies through friends with placements, this was their first exposure to older children in the system. My daughter was especially concerned with this, and asked lots of questions about what might lead an older child to need foster placement which flowed into the conversation on addiction.

Addiction

Ray and Fahmarr’s mother enters into a rehabilitation program for substance abuse early in the film. Many times, Ray refers to her as “sick” which opened a door for us to discuss how that version of “sick” is different than when they get sick. This subject had to be explained in very child-like and age-appropriate terms, of course, but we didn’t skirt around it.

If I know one thing for sure as a mom, it’s that I want to be the one initiating conversations about topics like these before they hear it elsewhere. (Because, moms, they will hear it elsewhere. Go first!) This movie was funny, inspiring, and opened up very natural pathways to tough topics. I highly recommend it, and I’d love to hear what conversations it opened up in your home!

Allison Ezell
Allison and her husband, Blake, grew up in Dallas and made the move to the 'burbs in 2010 when she began teaching middle school in Frisco. After attending Texas A&M University for her undergrad, Allison came back to Dallas in 2008 to pursue her Master's of Education from SMU. Over the last ten years, she has taught everything from preschool to eighth grade and has a huge passion for literacy. Today, McKinney is home for her family of five which includes Carter (7), Kate (5), and Brooks (3), who was adopted from China in 2016. When she's not chasing the kids around, she can be found drinking coffee, running, avoiding the laundry, traveling, or headed to a girls' night. Follow her self-proclaimed hot mess on Instagram!

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