Cole SprouseHaley Lu Richardson...
In 4 Cinemas
Have you ever wanted to meet a character in a movie? Maybe your first film or cartoon crush, or a superhero? Well, Five Feet Apart’s Stella would definitely be worth meeting if she were real.
Five Feet Apart follows cystic fibrosis teenager Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) as she obsesses over her medicine regimens in futile attempts to control her uncontrollable illness. But, when rebellious fellow cystic fibrosis patient Will (Cole Sprouse) crosses her path, control is the hardest thing to keep as, to avoid infection, they are not allowed within six feet of each other. With every inch closer, they risk their lives. So, will they finally give in to temptation or will they give up on love?
Yes, the cheesiness is palpable. The concept is not new; when it comes to forbidden love based on the risk of infection, there are plenty of films that have taken this concept as their main idea.
Five Feet Apart also sugar coats and romanticises a cystic fibrosis diagnosis and the quality of the lives of its patients to the point where viewers need to suspend all disbelief throughout the film to actually enjoy it. From how the actors did not look at all like they were dying to the adventures the pair had that would be utterly impossible. The sugar-coating overload led the filmmakers towards a fork in the road; either take a chance and create their own romantic mini situations to specifically suit the plot and the disease being discussed by the film, or just collect the most effective romantic situations from movies of the same genre.
Five Feet Apart’s filmmakers opted for the latter. That being said, the film does get very endearing and candid, especially in its second act. The film’s third act, however, is where it swerves sharply into much more of a melodrama, and not in a good way; the sequence of events seems random and barely makes sense. As such, Five Feet Apart’s dialogue and overall script is a mixture of clichés, random lines, and events that hardly make sense, and that leaves little room for genuine moments.
As for the acting, Haley Lu Richardson was amazing and perhaps the element that saves the film from being unwatchable. Richardson’s performance was candid, deep, and full of life. Richardson was able to maintain the balance between subtlety and drama (she is honestly the reason why this film is receiving a 3/5). Cole Sprouse was very charming but did not venture as much as Richardson outside cliché lines when it came to his performance.
Both Stella’s best friend Poe played by Moises Arias, and her nurse Barb played by Kimberly Hebert Gregory, seemed more like cartoon characters than actual people because of the strict adherence to long worn out cliché’s and shallow over the top characterisations. This is both the script and the actors’ fault.
Five Feet Apart will probably get to you (it’s two sick kids in love, how could it not?), but its faults are sadly not completely compensated for by Richardson’s genuinely amazing performance.