“I never understood the importance of touch. His touch. Until I couldn’t have it.”
In every breath, a miracle. Seventeen year-old Stella Grant tells her story on her online videos. “Will” Newman, a boy with cystic fibrosis, falls for her while watching on his screen. Stella is inside the same hospital as Will, for she has the same condition. The problem is, they couldn’t be in the same room, for the consequence may be their life.
During this time when everyone is practicing social distancing and wearing masks, “Five Feet Apart,” released months before the pandemic, gave us a preview of what it feels to be always at least a feet apart. Well, sort of. This is not to belittle the ordeal of those suffering lung diseases like cystic fibrosis (CF). With the ongoing health scare, we can appreciate more the story of its characters.
A “tragic romance” movie, “Five Feet Apart,” (based on the novel of Rachael Lippincott) follows the story of Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) and Will (Cole Sprouse). The two are CF patients, who are not allowed to be near other patients like themselves to reduce the risk of cross-infection. Fast forward and you get the problem. Will falls for Stella, watching her story of battling the disease with her videos online.
There’s your typical YA story ingredient at the start of the movie. The need for a problem that will keep the two protagonists apart is always present in love stories, and “Five Feet Apart” has it, literally and readily made. “I don’t mind stealing one foot back,” says Will to Stella and so the story takes off after that.
There are tears here and there, of course, but one couldn’t feel the depth of the story throughout the movie. Justin Baldoni directed the movie well, using CF as a vehicle on delving about the triumph of living and the sadness of losing someone. There’s a twist in the plot, but all of these are not enough to save the movie. Richardson’s performance was superb and Sprouse… he tried but it’s hard to take him seriously with all of his cheesy Goodread quotes. Like, are we supposed to tweet that?
Thief Worthy (2 out of 5 stars). “Five Feet Apart” at least gives us one good lesson about the value of living, especially given our current predicament. Sadly, though, it failed to reach the depth and connection of other movies of its genre. You will connect to Will and Stella, if you tried, but on the whole, this could just be your ordinary nighttime movie.