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“Five Feet Apart”: A Romance That Finally Goes Beyond Melancholy

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Five Feet Apart is the ideal cliché movie for those who love to mix super-romantic and emotion-filled scenes with different and innovative elements – and if you have not watched the movie yet, take care with the spoilers. The theme of a terminal illness in adolescence has been used extensively in the cinematic universe for some years and what we most see are couples with a melancholy and sad air and only when they find love they also find a reason to keep fighting for life.

This movie, in that sense, already begins differently: the protagonist, Stella, played by Haley Lu Richardson, is extremely organized and careful with her treatment, for cystic fibrosis, for wanting to heal herself, and she talks about this frequently on the internet with a vlog on her YouTube channel. The character is mostly fun, has close friends and a big love for her sister (who died on an accident). On the other hand, the character of Cole Sprouse, Will, is a rebel who, by acquiring a strong bacterium that complicates his cystic fibrosis even more, revolts with the life he leads and does not commit himself to continue with his treatment.

Image Source: IMDb

Their story begins when they meet at the hospital and Stella wants to help Will with the organization of his medications and encourage him to continue with the treatment. In return, he asks to draw her. It is with the agreement made and the two fulfilling with their obligations that the romance becomes a central element and then, it appears some of the implications of the protagonists getting together.

The hospital rule is clear: two patients with cystic fibrosis can not be less than six steps away. But whoever thinks this makes romance approach the “tragic” is wrong. Quite the opposite! The ways that Stella and Will try to circumvent this rule that brings the main charm of the film.

Comedy is a fundamental element in the construction of the narratives, because it gives a light air to a story that is already sad by itself and also has its moments of greater commotion. The magic is to see the fanciful ideas that the protagonists and their friends have so that everyone can be close together throughout the film, from the use of a stick to measure the distance to a hidden surprise party.

Image Source: IMDb

However, everything that was well built in the plot gets a little lost for a final with extremely unreal scenes. After the death of a friend, the protagonists revolt and have attitudes that, in the real world, would never keep them alive. These are exaggerated scenes, it’s very fanciful even for the movie set chosen: a frozen lake full of lights shrouded a few steps from a hospital with terminal patients.

In addition, Stella and Will fall into this lake, they have to breathe mouth to mouth and not only do not die but also not to acquire only one bacterium from the other. All of this so that Stella can do her lung transplant and stay alive. Films with miracles are actually very beautiful, but in the case of “Five Feet Apart”, it was very forced.

But those minutes are not enough to break the spell of a movie that portrays love in a sweet and real way and brings other elements to stories of young sick people. And the main of these elements is that the will and strength to live goes beyond a melancholy romance.

Bruna Miato

Casper Libero '20

Journalist. I believe that good communication can change the world into a better and fairer place. 
Giovanna Pascucci

Casper Libero '22

Estudante de Relações Públicas na Faculdade Cásper Líbero que ama animais e falar sobre séries.