‘Five Feet Apart’ Brings Life to Young Adult Romance, But Comes Up Short

Okeoghene Igbide

Five Feet Apart is a teenage romance film based on the young adult novel by Rachael Lippincott of the same name. It is centered around the life of Stella Grant (Haley Lu Richardson) , a seventeen year old girl with cystic fibrosis. Due to her disease and the risk of catching an infection, she is forced to live an incredibly restrictive life. This includes having to remain 6 feet apart from other patients with CF at all times. Her self-control and willingness to follow the rules is challenged when she meets the charming Will Newman (Cole Sprouse), a boy who has CF as well. The film follows the two as they deal with their diseases and a relationship in which they can not touch.

Storylines such as this are not new in the world of young adult romance. Its premise is similar to the popular novel, turned movie The Fault in Our Stars (2014) by John Green. Five Feet Apart, however, did not exactly hit the same high mark that The Fault in Our Stars did five years ago.

Although this film did an excellent job of avoiding the romanticization of CF by showcasing many less than glamorous aspects of it, such as stomach feeding tubes, it felt as though the disease was used as a cheap tool to create tear-jerking moments in the film. Many scenes throughout the movie seemed force and were full of clichés as if they were trying too hard to fit into the ‘tragic teen romance’ movie genre.

Stella Grant and Will Newman

It was enjoyable to watch the slow burn romance develop, but Stella and Will’s relationship escalated too quickly at the end, making the movie feel rushed and chaotic.

Five Feet Apart was an overall pretty enjoyable film, but it was certainly not exceptional. Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse’s acting were the strongest part of the film, and I wished that the screenplay better reflected their talent.