Nowhere Safe

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Nowhere Safe Movie Poster Image
Teen cyberbullying tale has solid message, predictable story
  • NR
  • 2014
  • 91 minutes

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Kids say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Focuses on the danger, powerful impact, and repercussions of cyberbullying. Asks important questions: "What can history teach us about ourselves?" "History is in the making; what will your history be?" "Why do we take so much delight in watching other people suffer?" Asserts that loyalty may fade under pressure and that there are "knights" or heroes in the world who offer hope and courage. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ashley's mom is supportive, proactive, loving, and responsible. Featured teachers are smart, innovative, and compassionate and impart important lessons. Villains are typical mean girls who have no consciences and relish being hurtful. Vast majority of teens depicted are impressionable and intent upon following the crowd rather than relying on an awareness of right and wrong. 

Violence

All violence is shown in brief flashbacks: A teen is attacked (knocked down, punched, bloodied in the face); a rock crashes through a window to frighten the occupants of a house; and crowds of kids taunt and threaten the heroine.

Sex

A few tender kisses.

Language

Occasional name-calling and insults: "wuss," "ho," "crap."

Consumerism

A Jeep is featured in several scenes.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Nowhere Safe tackles the pervasive effects and mean-spiritedness of cyberbullying in high school. Growing concern about far-reaching dangers of today's access to social networking and the Internet is personalized in this story "inspired by actual events" of one teen girl whose life is in free fall after two jealous classmates aim to attack and destroy her online. Quick flashbacks portray the physical assaults she's experienced -- beatings and scare tactics (a rock thrown through a living room window); intense scenes show the teasing and verbal aggression to which she's subjected. Insults and swearing include "crap," "wuss," and "ho." Originally aired on UPtv, this well-meaning television movie is fine for mature tweens and teens.

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What's the story?

Ashley Evans (an affecting Danielle Chuchran) and her drama-teacher mom (Natasha Henstridge) are on the run in NOWHERE SAFE. Though it isn't clear what's happened to Ashley, she's timid and frightened when she suddenly moves to a new house and a new school midyear. What is clear, however, is that the teen is guarded and more comfortable with being alone than with making new friends. And she can't abide "mean girls," bullying, or laughter at the expense of others. Little by little, Ashley finds that there is "nowhere safe," and the past catches up with her. Victimized by two jealous and spiteful classmates from her old school, she's in danger again. As her story progresses, Ashley encounters an eccentric but wise history teacher (Jamie Henshaw), a popular boy in need of an ethics do-over (James Gaisford), and another vindictive mean-girl-in-residence. Intent on making her new world "safe," Ashley must stand up to her past and take responsibility for her future. 

Is it any good?

Good intentions, important messages, and a solid performance from the teen lead are the reasons to watch this made-for-TV film. However, a predictable story, one-dimensional characters and performances, and a production unable to rise above its budget constraints severely dilute its effectiveness. For example, what might have been a clever and weighty sub-story of an inspiring, iconoclastic history teacher loses any sense of the authentic when it appears that his class covers centuries of history in days or weeks and when he marches through the school in sweeping costumes to make a point. Afraid to be daring or hard-hitting and not wanting to offend in any way, this movie settles for a homogenized look at what is actually an intense event with life-changing ramifications. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about cyberbullying. Do you know anyone who has been the victim of such an attack or anyone who's been the aggressor? What happened as a result of the event? 

  • What are some ways in which you -- a witness -- can affect the outcome of bullying in general?

  • Talk about the unorthodox teaching methods of Mr. Carlisle. Do you think they're effective? Why, or why not? What did he mean when he said, "History is in the making. What will your history be?"

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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