Five Feet Apart: The Move That Will Make You Cry More Than Any Other Rom Com

If you’re looking for a good reason to cry, go see Five Feet Apart. I am not normally the type of person to get emotional over films, but this film had the whole theater in tears.

The story centers around two teens, Stella and Will, who are diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Stella, played by Haley Lu Richardon, who also struggles with OCD, keeps her life organized by following her strict treatment so she can live. She also documents her life through YouTube videos to be a voice for others who may be struggling with CF or who are just curious about the condition. Her drive to keep fighting is fueled by her parents’ divorce and the death of her sister, Abby. Stella is experiencing “survivors’ guilt” and believes she is the only hope in her parents’ life. She even developed an app to help manage and track what medication she needs to take.

Will, played by Cole Sprouse, is the opposite. He recognizes that he is dying but wants to live whatever life he has left. He enters Saint Grace’s Regional Hospital to be a part of an experimental treatment but has problems keeping up with the medicine on his own. Will wants to be out in the world, not trapped by the confines of the hospital.

For those who might not be aware, cystic fibrosis is a disease that affects the respiratory and digestive systems. As a result, mucus builds up which can lead to a weaker immune system, making patients more susceptible to infections and respiratory failure. Often, patients need to undergo a lung transplant and will end up needing new lungs every 5 years. Unfortunately, this also means the life expectancy of a patient with CF is short.

Due to Will’s rebellious behavior, Stella feels the need to help monitor and keep him on track with his medication, so he has a chance at survival. I guess you can say opposites truly attract because as Will begins to take more responsibility for his health, he in turns helps Stella begin to let go of the control CF has taken on her life. She begins to truly live in the moment rather than through treatments.

As the romance between the teens, Stella becomes more aware of the limitations the two face. The general rule frequently enforced by Nurse Barb is that a patient with CF must stay at least six feet apart from another CF patient to limit the risk of spreading viruses. No holding hands. No hugs. No kissing.

In the trailer, you might notice Will and Stella walking together by holding two ends of a pool stick and wearing latex gloves. The gloves act as a barrier of contact between the two, but the pool stick acts as an intimate link between the two. Stella, realizing that CF has stolen so much from her when it comes to opportunities and life experiences, she decides to steal a foot back from the general rule. With the pool stick measuring about five feet, this brings the two lovers one step closer to experiencing a normal relationship. Hence, the meaning behind the movie’s title.

Many people may be able to see the comparisons between John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars and this newest movie adaptation. I do believe John Green’s novel is a great piece of work. It made a cultural impact and loved by many teens. Yet, Five Feet Apart seems more realistic. Director Justin Baldoni emphasizes love is far from perfect, especially in teen romance films and novels. The movie also serves as a way to teach audiences about cystic fibrosis. Sure, everyone knows what cancer is, either by personal experience or not. CF is a lesser known condition that still has no definite cure.

However, just like Fault In Our Stars, this film has a Pittsburgh connection. Five Feet Apart was written by University of Pittsburgh graduate, Rachael Lippincott. Born in Bucks County, just outside of Philadelphia, Rachael received her BA in English from Pitt. Her book was only recently published in November 2018 and then turned into a screenplay.