FIVE FEET APART
By Mary Cox
In the eighties and nineties, ABC television seemed to air a disease of the week. I thought I was watching a movie from that era. This time the disease was CF (Cystic Fibrosis). Cystic fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections. With new screening and medicines, CF patients can typically live to their 30’s.
Stella, (Haley Lu Richardson) and Will (Cole Sprouse) are in a hospital waiting for a lung transplant that will allow them to live longer with CF.
According to the film, CF patients cannot get within 6 feet of each other because they will transmit bacteria to each other that can be fatal. Will and Stella fall in love and have to deal with the fact that their love is doomed from the start because they can’t kiss or touch. They are thwarted at every move by Nurse Barb, (Kimberly Herbert Gregory), who doesn’t want the two to die on her watch. The kids are aided and abetted by their pal Poe, (Moises Arias), who is also a CF patient.
The star-crossed lovers use a 5 foot pool cue to keep their distance but circumstances make that impossible.
I predict that the three young actors, Richardson, Sprouse and Arias will be seen a lot in future. They were quite good. I enjoyed watching them perform. Sprouse is Jughead in “Riverdale” on television. Nurse Betty was a very sympathetic character as she tried to keep the kids apart because, in the past, kids who fell in love died because she looked the other way.
Although this is a deadly serious film, the writers, Mickey Daughtry and Tobias Iaconia, provide a clever and sometimes funny dialogue to bring comic relief regularly throughout the film. Justin Baldoni directed. This is his first full length feature film. Usually he directs television and documentaries.
Needless to say, this romance is a tear-jerker. At the denouement, (the final climax), I heard sniffles throughout the theater. People were whipping out their Kleenex and lots of noses were being blown. So a warning, take lots of facial tissues! You will need them.
I was surprised this film made the big screen; it really is a television movie of the week. The acting is solid, the cinematography is decent and I liked the screenplay but this really isn’t a significant story. We have seen this before. I would recommend that you wait and see this on Red Box, Hulu or Netflix rather than pay big bucks to see it.
It is showing on AMC Eastgate Showplace 6 and AMC Showplace Edwardsville 12.