Movie Review: Five Feet Apart

By Jessica Jones, Staff Writer
[Lionsgate; 2019]
Rating: 4.5/10

Five Feet Apart, the latest teenage sob story to hit the big screen, is nothing more than average at best. The film takes every opportunity to make the viewers cry while also taking advantage of today’s heartthrob Cole Sprouse, who plays the main love interest, Will. Set in a hospital’s cystic fibrosis (CF) ward, the plot of this movie is abundantly similar to that of every hospital movie ever: two teens fall into a forbidden love due to implications beyond their control, and of course, their actions have consequences.

Read more: Movie Review: Climax

As if we don’t already have enough hospital dramas existing on this planet, Five Feet Apart is similar to all the rest. We don’t get much of a backstory about the main character, Stella (Haley Lu Richardson), who is presumably a long-term patient at the hospital battling CF. There, she meets smooth-talking bad boy Will, another CF patient who is newly admitted. CF compromises the immune system, making it essential for those who have it to avoid contact with airborne illnesses. Extra precautions around other CF patients must also be taken since contracting another patient’s germs can be deadly. Thus, the “six-foot rule,” which advises those with CF to keep at least a six-foot distance apart from other CF patients, is introduced. In order to regain some control over her life, Stella decides to push the boundaries and take back one foot. Only 10 minutes into the movie, Stella is smitten and so is angsty Will – aw.

This movie isn’t fantastic by any means, but it’s not the worst either. With only a handful of films under her belt, Richardson does a fine job embodying the responsible-yet-paranoid Stella. Meanwhile, Will feels reminiscent of Sprouse’s character Jughead Jones from “Riverdale,” only a little bit cooler (“Have you ever seen me without this stupid hat on? That’s weird”). Another familiar face, also from the OG Disney crew, is Moises Arias, who plays Poe, another lovable CF patient and Stella’s GBF. “Meh” parts include the film’s boring soundtrack and tangent stories, which serve as tear-jerkers more than contributing storylines.

One thing this film does well is educating its viewers about CF through Stella’s YouTube channel, where she gives an inside look at her life with CF. She explains her illness, her many different medications and the treatments she goes through. A love story that is also educational? We stan! However, this film simultaneously romanticizes the chronic illness, as the characters don’t look sick at all, hardly exhibit any symptoms and roam about the hospital like it’s a hotel. At one point, Stella is so in love with Will she’s willing to risk her life for a boy she’s only known for a few weeks – yikes.

With a horrendously predictable storyline and an unrealistic climax, Five Feet Apart feels dull and lacks excitement. Near the end of the film, Will delivers an uncomfortable monologue to Stella, confessing his love while also regretting to inform her that he must go, along with some other details that make for an odd ending. If you’re looking to have a good cry and are in the mood for a hospital drama, my suggestion is to go rewatch The Fault in Our Stars instead.

Watch the trailer here:

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