Starfish Throwers is a film about three tremendously compassionate and hard-working individuals. Narayanan Krishnan operates a service in India with the tagline “Destitute Feeding” for which he drives around the streets of India and hands homeless individuals a fresh meal. Katie Stagliano is a 13-year-old gardener who organizes dinners to feed the hungry in South Carolina. Allan Law focuses on feeding the hungry of the streets of Minneapolis, but also provides counsel, guidance, hope and attention to those people who desperately need it. All three of these people spend a lot of time, money and energy trying to help those that need their help. In classic documentary structure, Starfish Throwers lets you get to know them, what they do and why they do it.
In his Kickstarter for the film, director Jesse Roesler said that Starfish Throwers and its stories can “…help us to rediscover our own potential to affect positive change.” That notion that we can all do this, and be the change that the world needs, is apparent throughout the film. Narayanan, Katie and Allan are wonderful human beings doing what they can to help. Though the sea of problems is unsolvable, we can still help some; even one is everything. After all, every single emotion you’ve ever felt, every moment of love, of hate, of kindness, or hurt, is just one person. You are one person. To help one person is to help a being with the same complexity and depth of feeling as you. Even if the problems are endless, each resolution is magnificent.
I wouldn’t call Starfish Throwers the most enthralling and original film. It is yet another story of hard work aimed at helping people. It is yet another documentary trying to bring social change. And thus, it’s not going to blow you away with new insights on the world. However, it is yet another poignantly human story that we need to hear over and over again.
Twice they tell the story from which the title Starfish Throwers comes. You won’t forget it.
A for Alex is a blend of nonfiction and sci-fi that explores director Alex Orr and his wife Katie’s pregnancy. The film is a typical mix of comedy and drama, being mostly comedic with few but important moments of serious drama. It’s delightfully aware of its silliness, which is laugh-out-loud funny at times. Its aims at genuine emotion fail because the film is too silly to feel real.
A for Alex is not the greatest film, but it’s an enjoyable digression. The film is not going to stand out at IFF Boston, but it’s better than a lot of the schlock Hollywood puts out. If you’re looking for something lighter, with worthwhile mild enjoyment, check this out.