Five Feet Apart stars Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson as Will and Stella, two teenagers diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. It tells an emotional and heartfelt story about it and due to the illness, anyone with cystic fibrosis must never be more than 6 feet close to each other because of the risk of cross contamination and infection. It’s a story of familiarity, but luckily manages to bring more depth and a bigger message onto the table but not without having its own small flaws.
What I originally thought was going to be a copycat story to the movie The Fault in Our Stars ended up being a story with a bigger meaning than two teens falling in love but what having an illness like cystic fibrosis does to the minds of these individuals. It takes a toll on them and that message is clear as day throughout the film. The story itself is something we have seen in films in the past because it’s a formula we are already familiar with.
Unless you live under a rock, most of us are familiar with the Riverdale star Cole Sprouse, who still manages to bring his wit and charm to this role along with Haley Lu Richardson known for starring alongside Hailee Steinfeld in The Edge of Seventeen. Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson really made this film to be a lot more than just mediocre. They portray and convey the physical and mental state of Cystic Fibrosis patients. Their chemistry really shows and shines through. Both of them taking on roles in what I believe is in a respectful manner.
Like I said before, this film has a very familiar formula of a typical teen love story with something a little bit different, here and there. Definitely not completely predictable, but familiar. My biggest critiques is the inconsistent pacing that only becomes a litte more consistent after the first act of the film. Some of the smaller flaws do not necessarily take away from what the film’s message is and that was a huge relief despite having a couple of things happen that did not seem to make complete sense.
The thing that resonated the most with me throughout this film is as you continue to watch this film, we learn a lot of the other battles that Richardson’s character Stella has gone through and it makes you realize that an illness is not always their only battle. An illness that can kill might not always be what will kill a loved one first.
What surprised me most about this film is how it ironically felt like it took my breath away at times. Stella and Will both made me nervous, tense and happy for what their relationship was like throughout the movie. Certain moments made me feel for these characters and honestly it broke my heart or warmed it.
After a slow first act, the film gained a much better pace to get things going in both what happens in the film and how Stella and Will’s relationship begins to blossom and evolve. Even after the fact that what I thought to be a little too rushed for them to have such a strong relationship, it made sense and was justified because they are two very ill young teens who do not know when they could take their last breath.
In the end, Five Feet Apart tries to create a unique story and in a sense, it does, but it’s also a very familiar plot. Despite that, we have two amazing actors with some of the best interactions I have seen in such a familiar formula. This movie teaches all of us that whether we are sick, healthy, young or old, we need to remember to love in the present because what happens in life is not always in our control and as cheesy as it sounds, you should live, laugh, and love in the now. Five Feet Apart is a story of a friendship turned love story that reflects that very message and so much more.
Five Feet Apart is currently playing in theaters.
The film stars Cole Sprouse, Haley Lu Richardson, Moises Arias, Kimberly Hebert Gregory and Parminder Nagra.