‘Five Feet Apart’ : A love story burdened by a life-threatening disease

I won’t hesitate to admit that romantic chick-flicks are the way to my heart, however I am unbiased when saying “Five Feet Apart” is one of the best movies I’ve seen in the past year. It follows the story of two love-struck teenagers with one big problem: Cystic fibrosis.

Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) and Will (Cole Sprouse) are no strangers to hospitals. Their life-threatening disease forced them in and out of emergency rooms ever since they were children. Hospital visits follow the same routine: An hourly medicine intake regime, oxygen masks, feedings tubes and staying hopeful in a time where there’s little to dream about.

Will’s hospital stay started when he joined a test group for a new medicine that would hopefully combat his fatal infection, B. cepacia. Left with no hope to live a normal life, Will constantly rebels. Stella, on the other hand, is waiting for her new lungs. After her sister tragically passed a year ago, her newly divorced parents are left with only one daughter. Both are expecting another regular, boring stay at the hospital, when suddenly Will and Stella meet and instantly fall in love. Despite their strong connection, Will and Stella have to remain five feet apart at all times. Stella is at risk of contracting B. cepacia and saying goodbye to new lungs if the rules are not followed.

One day, Poe, Stella’s best friend at the hospital, dies right in front of her eyes. His tragic death made Stella realize that she spent her whole life doing everything she could to guarantee more time. It was time for her to start actually living, to start enjoying the small things and to stop constantly worrying. Her and Will run away to “see the lights,” however things drastically shift after Stella falls through the ice while dancing on a pond. “Five Feet Apart” takes you through the emotional rollercoaster of what it’s like battling a life-threatening disease, falling in love and wanting what you can never have.

What I loved most about “Five Feet Apart” is how emotionally investing it is. Richardson and Sprouse do an amazing job at portraying the raw emotions the characters are going through. Will and Stella have to force themselves to be vulnerable, to accept each other’s flaws and to make the most out of their situation. They find the light at the end of the cystic fibrosis tunnel. I won’t lie, I cried for most of the movie. My heart went out to Stella, Poe and Will, but also all the nurses, family members and friends that are there to hold their hands through every step. It highlights the amazing role that nurses play in hospitals. Not only do they keep the characters alive, but they act as best friends who offer a shoulder to cry on.

The most emotional scenes were the ones where parents were involved. All they wanted to see was their child healthy and happy. Of course, the entire movie was not sappy. There were many moments that were bursting with joy and showed how strong love can be. Even a life threatening disease can’t stop love.

A few months ago I read the novel version of “Five Feet Apart,” and I can confidently say the movie follows the plot of the written book very closely. While I did know the ending, it did not make me any less excited. While I quietly prayed for Stella to hold her breath for a second longer, my dad most likely thought I was going insane. Even my own father, a 53-year old man who I dragged to the theater with me to see a romantic drama, was not left disappointed. I can assure you, “Five Feet Apart” will not leave you regretting the $15 you spend to go see it.

Rating: 5 out 5 stars


Jordana Castelli is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at jordan.castelli@dailycampus.com.