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Film Review: “Five Feet Apart” (2019) ★★★


Some of us might say that making films about two terminally ill patients that fall in love with each other is clichéd. Maybe, in some way, I have to admit it. But here is my question to you, my most respectful reader – Is love not something we all should feel? Is loving restricted purely to those who are capable of expressing it to the fullest, those who are lucky enough to have a pair of hands, legs, ears, nose, and lips? How about those who happen to not have one?

Stella is struggling to keep her control intact. An unforgiving and senseless Cystic Fibrosis takes over her lungs and begins dictating its own way of how she should live. Being sent to the hospital as a child, she lives one day after another with the hope to receive a matched lung donor. But at some point, things go South and her rebellious attitude grows stronger until she meets Will, a young man who’s soon to turn eighteen with the same diagnosis but fully opposite of her. He does not follow any rules. He is a big pessimist. He does not think he will live long enough to enjoy life, so he slowly begins inviting death for a date night.

All that for him changes as well when he meets Stella, a young woman who deeply cares about him. So the two begin teaching each other to behave when it comes to taking medicines. But as they slowly fall for each other, they forget about the most important rule – five feet apart at all times. But the more they develop an attachment with each other, it gets more challenging for the two to ignore the most important thing that makes them feel fulfilled – loving and be loved in return. The line delivered by Stella, “I have an issue with control. So, let’s do our treatments together, so I will know for fact you do yours as well,” tells a lot about her big heart, lack of selfishness and contributing to something she in reality never had control over – breathing.

“Five Feet Apart” is based on Rachael Lippincott with contributions from Mikki Daughty and Tobias Laconis and directed by Justin Baldoni, who delivers the most impressive teen drama of 2019. Even though it touches upon a recognized subject matter, the film manages to take a whole different route you will be pleasantly surprised to witness. Haley Lu Richardson as Stella and Cole Sprouse as Will were the best choices to portray the two terminally ill teenagers who must make a choice between a love that can die or death without loving. With almost two hours of running time, the film never felt dragged out, too long or boring. In fact, it managed to include everything it could possibly do to have viewers completely engaged throughout.

In conclusion, why “Five Feet Apart” is a winner is because of its fearless approach to an emotional story in a very balanced way. Its attempt to manipulate the viewers’ emotions is equal to zero. Instead, the film tackles the importance of love, feeling, touching and living life. The film manages to capture not only the importance of that but rather how we, the always busy people, are occupied so much that we neglect even paying attention to our loved ones while someone a mile away from is starving of love almost to the death. And as for death, if William Shakespeare was alive now, he would certainly notice once again that there is no one who is more jealous of youth is death itself that’s willing to break any rule to possess what we all still do not fully comprehend – the subtle connection between life and love.

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