“Five Feet Apart” is a clever tearjerker


Main characters Cole Sprouse (Will), Haley Lu Richardson (Stella) and director Justin Baldoni. Posted on @fivefeetapart on Instagram.

Melissa Lim, Contributing Writer

Ugh. Another sappy teen love story, but this time there’s a twist.

Imagine you fell in love with someone you couldn’t even touch. Couldn’t be within five feet of. Not knowing if they’ll wake up in the morning or if their illness will finally consume their body. More importantly, will you even be able to fight the illness yourself?

In director Justin Baldoni’s “Five Feet Apart,” Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) and Will (Cole Sprouse) are patients battling Cystic Fibrosis, a hereditary disease that affects the lungs and digestive system, they require lung transplants and can’t be less than 5 feet apart due to the high risk of cross-infection. Will is a very sarcastic boy who draws cartoons, and she’s an enthusiastic angelic type with a Youtube channel.

Seventeen-year-old Stella spends most of her time in the hospital as a cystic fibrosis patient. Her life is full of routines, boundaries and self-control — all of which get put to the test when she meets Will, an impossibly charming teen who has the same illness. There’s an instant flirtation, though restrictions dictate that they must maintain a safe distance between them.

Something that really stood out to me was the fact that Stella lives by the rules with major OCD while WIll could care less about his illness. How does someone like Stella fall for a boy like Will? At first I was confused how two completely different people could fall for each other but eventually, everything makes sense.

The two spend more time together throughout the movie and it starts to show how much they’re in love with each other. They start to compliment each other’s differences and understand the other’s personality more. As their affection intensifies, so does the want of them throwing out the rules of their illness. Richardson and Sprouse share great chemistry and it helps keep the movie afloat. I don’t think any other actress/actor would portray Stella and Will’s character better than how they do it.

The department’s Head Nurse, Barb (Kimberly Hebert), does not like Stella and Will sneaking around because it’s too dangerous for their health to be with each other. Although she’s always concerned with them being too close to each other, she gives comic relief throughout the movie. She made me laugh most of the time, but every scene she came in, we saw a different side of her.

Another major character was Poe (Moises Arias), Stella’s childhood best friend who is also battling with Cystic Fibrosis. Throughout the movie, Poe keeps their friendship pure. Their relationship was one of my favorites in the movie because both of them were always honest no matter what, and it was the cutest thing ever. He has a good heart and tries to put his loved ones before himself. Without his help to keep Stella and Will’s relationship stable, their love would definitely not have been as strong. He’s practically the best friend everyone wishes for.

Although the movie did have a lot of emotion built in to its characters something I didn’t like was that they properly introduce someone important in Stella’s life. Ever since Stella started coming to the hospital to receive treatment, he sister was always by her side. She was the one person who could always cheer her up and help her stay strong no matter what. They mention that she passes away and Stella does not like talking about it. I think to understand a different vulnerable side to Stella, more of her sister could have been shown other than just a small scene of flashbacks.

Also, Will would always say “It’s just life, it’ll be over before you know it.” It’s said with doubt, but it becomes a mantra that takes a new meaning every single time it’s said. At first, it made me think he was being his sarcastic self, but as he said it over and over again, it made me realize how much love he has. He really cares about everyone around him and wants everyone else to be happy. With Sprouse’s attitude and ambition, it really creates the type of character Baldoni wanted for Will.

The little things made the movie better. The soundtrack made every scene more emotional and made me really feel what they were feeling. The costumes fit perfectly with the characters and their personality. The lighting shone on everything that needed to be highlighted and even the pace and length of the movie matched the plot, nothing could’ve really changed to make it better.

I cried. A lot. In every scene that Stella and Will were in, mainly toward the end, I bawled my eyes out. If I would watch it again, I’d probably cry just as much the first time. The storyline was a special one. There are a lot of romance movies with the same cliche ending every time, but this is something no one would expect. The movie as a whole showed off incredible talents and rose  awareness about an illness people don’t hear about everyday. This isn’t a film about the illness, it’s about two teenagers that if they showed their feeling, it’ll literally kill them. Even if you’re someone who doesn’t love a cliche, just watch this and cry about. Be ashamed tomorrow.