Five Feet Apart based on the YA (Young Adult) novel by Rachael Lippincot tells the story of two love-struck teenagers Stella (Hayley Lu Richardson, Support The Girls) and Will (Cole Sprouse, Riverdale), who are diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis.
The film focuses on Stella Grant (Richardson) who is every bit a seventeen year old.. she’s attached to her laptop and loves her best friends. But unlike most teenagers, she spends much of her time living in a hospital as Cystic Fibrosis patient. Her life is full of routines, boundaries and self control- all of which is put to the test when she meets impossibly charming fellow CF patient named Will Newman (Sprouse). There’s an instant flirtation, though restrictions dictate that they must keep a safe distance between them. As their connections intensifies, so does the temptation to throw the rules out the window and embrace that attraction. Stella gradually inspires Will to live life to the fullest, but can she ultimately save the person she loves when a single touch is out of limits.’
In the same vein as ‘Fault In Our Stars’ and ‘A Walk To Remember‘ Five Feet Apart adds to a already over saturated sub genre of films. Furthermore it also feels far fetched and melodramatic in numerous instances, that I can’t help but feel detracts the viewer from feeling sympathetic at times when this is the intended effect. The third and final act of the film is the most absurd and will leave viewers genuinely scratching their heads as to what the writers were thinking and why exactly there are so many plot holes that make zero sense.
Five Feet Apart also offers no new ground in terms of its structure it follows the same formative narrative and character development of any romantic teenage movie. For instance, you have the character of Stella (Richardson) who portrays the opportunistic, bubbly and wide-eyed young girl who strives to see the good in a challenging world, in contrast the character of Will (Sprouse) plays the brooding artist who displays defeatist attitude and sees treatment as no benefit to the inevitable. Sound Familiar? Change the hospital location for a high school setting and you have every teenage love story told ever.
Five Feet Apart at times is both beautiful and hopeful with a clear message, it urges viewers to discover the beauty even in the most challenging and traumatic of situations. Both Richardson and Sprouse provide adequate chemistry and do give heartwarming and emotional performances. Richardson’s performance in particular provides the only saving grace of the film, she provides the only multi dimensional character in a sea full of teenage stereotypes. However ultimately the script allows no room for any of the actors to really shine.
Five Feet Apart will find its audience in the YA market but sadly won’t provide further scope for a bigger audience and for all its flaws the movie is creating conversation and providing insight into the further understanding of Cystic Fibrosis which in all can only be beneficial.
Five Feet Apart is available to own DVD /VOD platforms from 15th July 2019
Drama, Romance | USA, 2019 | 15 | 15th July 2019 (UK DVD) | Universal Pictures UK | Dir. Justin Baldoni | Haley Lu Richardson, Cole Sprouse, Moises Arias