Starfish Tom Riley Tom Ray

Based on the true story of an East Midlands family struck down out of the blue by a life-changing illness, British indie movie Starfish is a harrowing, heartbreaking and ultimately inspiring drama.

Children’s author, devoted dad and loving husband, Tom Ray (Tom Riley) ends up in a coma after a presumed bout of food poisoning turns out to be far graver. He has not succumbed to a dodgy sausage past its sell-by date but to multiple organ failure and sepsis. He awakes five months later to a devastating discovery: his limbs have been amputated and his face left terribly disfigured

“A tough watch”

Writer-director Bill Clark doesn’t flinch from depicting the physical effects of Tom’s illness, and neither does he pull any punches when it comes to showing us its gruelling emotional costs. As a result, Starfish is a tough watch, at times. But the committed performances of Riley and Joanne Froggatt, playing Tom’s wife Nic, herself battling against the odds to hold the family together, keep us powerfully engaged. In addition, Clark’s writing and directing thankfully steer clear of the clichés and melodrama of the disease-of-the-week TV movie genre, and his sober approach makes Starfish all the more affecting.

Certificate 15. Runtime 95 mins. Director Bill Clark

Starfish is being release in conjunction with a nationwide Sepsis awareness campaign for The Sepsis Trust.