What are People with Cystic Fibrosis are Saying about 5 Feet Apart?

When I first heard about 5 Feet Apart, I was terrified that I’d just be watching another version of The Fault in Our Stars romanticizing chronic illness. After watching the trailer, I assumed the film might take a different approach. I didn’t know too much about Cystic Fibrosis (CF), and I was curious to learn more.

I found out that the main character Stella, played by Hayley Lu Richardson, was based on Claire Wineland, an advocate for better representation of chronic illness in media. Wineland had CF and she was an advocate for educating people about CF through media, politics and her YouTube Channel. She unfortunately passed away last year from CF and I thought this film would be an educational tribute to her life.

Here’s what the CF Community has to say about the film 5 Feet Apart:

Positives of Five Feet Apart

Well Developed Characters

Morgan Grindstaff has cystic fibrosis and uses his social media platform to educate people on Cystic Fibrosis (CF) as well as building a community of people with CF. He mentions how he connected to Cole Sprouse’s strained relationship with his mother and he enjoyed the community the characters who had CF built within the hospital. He mentions that there were Hollywood dramatizations throughout the film, but for him, never to an extensive degree.

Emotional Connection

Tyler Smith also has CF and she mentions her own struggles with CF and how she saw them depicted in the film. She also outlines how the film was even sadder than Marley and Me for her and did a great job outlining the emotional journey of having CF.

Educating People on CF

Taquira uses her social media platform to talk about school growing up dealing with family, friends, braces and relationships. She recently uploaded a Q&A video about her Cystic Fibrosis and her reaction to 5 Feet Apart.

“They were constantly walking around the halls with no mask on, you can’t really leave your room and have that much freedom when you’re in the hospital with CF…”

“If they left the hospital and that was a real situation, the cops would be called…You’re constantly getting monitored by the doctors; there’s always doctors in the hallway”

“…the only thing is when they are in the hospital just walking around not wearing a mask 50% of the time. Because if you have CF you are required to wear a mask at all times in the halls in the hospital but other than that I loved the movie.”

The Negatives about Cystic Fibrosis


Mental Exhaustion and High Medical Costs

In a Twitter thread, Nick Ransbottom mentions how there’s nothing romantic or cute about having CF...and the realities make every day hard to get through…  

He goes on to mention the high costs that come with CF that many people struggle to afford. 5 Feet Apart predominately focused on a privileged and economically fortunate characters

Overall the reviews are mixed but it’s up to you to decide if the film did a good job starting a conversation about Cystic Fibrosis or if you believe Hollywood took more liberties than they should’ve with the film.