Starfish 2016 film review | Book Addicts

Starfish (film)

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Starfish is a 2016 British film about the true story of Tom Ray who developed a sepsis infection from eating expired pork.  His arms were amputated below the elbow, his feet were amputated, his lips and part of his nose were amputated, and he never received any plastic surgery to repair the extensive damage that the inept doctors created in making those amputations.

2 out of 10 stars.  I feel badly for this couple, but this film was done very poorly.  It tried to cover too much and didn’t cover anything particularly well.

The story begins in the 1980s (at least it appears to be) in a small village in England where Tom and Nicola Ray are a young married couple with a four year old daughter named Grace.  It’s the last day of Nicola’s work before she goes on maternity leave with their second child (a boy).  That evening Tom makes himself some sausage that’s expired in a frying pan. He’s the only one who eats it, thankfully.

Note:  1.  Expired meat is dangerous.  2.  You can’t really “cook” meat in a frying pan.  It’s meant for reheating unless you’re going to cook it for at least 30 minutes.

Within six hours Tom is violently ill and in pain.  Believing he only has the flu, Nicolas goes out with a friend.  Less than six hours later (about 12 hours after eating the sausage), Tom calls Nicola but is unable to speak.  She comes home and rushes him to the hospital where he sits in a patient room for almost 24 hours before he is seen.  By then he has sepsis and much of his body is dying.  His hands and feet are extremely cold because they’ve already turned black and died.  Now the flesh on his face is dying and turning black.  By the time the doctors finish they’ve removed his feet, his hands, his lower arms, and parts of his face including his lips.  While Tom is in surgery, Nicola goes into labor and delivers the baby alone.

The rest of the film is about Tom’s sort of recovery.  Because neither of them held the hospital responsible for what the botched surgeries it falls to Nicola to hold parties to get donations for Tom’s medical bills and prosthetics.  Meanwhile her life has changed just as dramatically as his.  She now has taken on the burden of their entire family in addition to taking on his complete care.  That’s a big deal when this was a mistake that he made and it was a dumb one.

The problem I have with this film is that there are almost no facts in it at all.  None whatsoever.  Even the facts surrounding what happened to Tom are intentionally vague.  It’s like those horror films where they say “based on a true story” and you discover it wasn’t.

2 out of 10 stars.  I had a very hard time understanding why Nicola stayed with Tom.  He had a family, at least a mother, that was willing to care for him.  I would’ve let her and gotten on with my life.


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