Five Feet Apart has hopeless romantics falling hard for Will and Stella’s love story


In the film, Stella and Will had to communicate mainly through FaceTime due to the fact that they could not be in each other’s room or else it could be potentially fatal for the both of them.

Abigail Kapoor, Staff Writer

A new bittersweet love story has recently tugged at the heartstrings of the audience, mainly young viewers. Directed by Justin Baldoni, who also produced Jane the Virgin, the teen romance movie Five Feet Apart tells the tale of a heartwarming first encounter between two teens living with cystic fibrosis and the blossoming of their unique relationship.

Stella Grant (Haley Lu Richardson) is a typical 17-year-old who loves social media and vlogs about her condition on YouTube in an attempt to better grapple with her disease.  She follows all the rules that her illness demands, such as taking treatments and living with many restrictions.  Stella meets Will Newman (Cole Sprouse), who is also a cystic fibrosis patient in the same hospital, as she is undergoing an experimental drug trial.  Her love interest Will is the opposite of her; he resists the regimens and sometimes takes even life-threatening risks.   They quickly fall in love but unfortunately need to maintain a distance of six feet apart from each other, with any closer distance leading to the risk of either teen contracting a possibly-deadly bacterial infection.  This push-and-pull relationship leaves viewers anticipating for more, as even more obstacles begin to unravel throughout the film, making the plot more interesting.

“I really like this movie because the two lovers could not be together because they shared this illness.  They kept their distance to protect each other and this was very romantic,” said freshman Lucy Barr.

The movie seemed to redefine the concept of love through its fun and fresh scenes, which many viewers enjoyed.  For instance, in one scene, Stella tells Will that she is taking back “one foot” because cystic fibrosis already cheated her of so much in life.  This heart-wrenching scene took place at an unlikely romantic setting where the two characters share an intimate moment and reveal their scars from past procedures in a hospital pool.

“It has a really good plot line and there are unexpected parts,” said freshman Nicole Bonavitacola.  “I loved it.”

Taking a closer look at the movie, one is able to notice just how much the characters surrounding the two lovers further contribute to the magic of stirring emotions among viewers. Most notably, Nurse Barbara (Kimberly Herbert Gregory) consistently tries to protect Stella from interacting too closely with Will in the fear that she will contract an infection by doing so.  In addition, Barbara scolds Will and later plans to have him transferred to another facility.  Despite this, though, the deeper Stella falls for Will, the harder it becomes for them to keep their distance apart.

“The movie is about the importance of having love and friendships in your life and it highlighted how Stella, Will, and Poe desperately wanted to experience these, but cystic fibrosis limited them,” said senior Nick Kapoor.

Poe, Stella’s best friend, is also a fellow CF patient. Later in the film, Stella encourages Poe to accept his boyfriend’s love.  After Poe’s passing, Stella expresses the painful regret of not once having hugged her best friend.  Her sister Abby (Sophia Bernard) had also died a few years earlier after falling while cliff jumping and breaking her neck.  Stella reluctantly shares this with Will, and reveals to him suppressed feelings of guilt and anger as a result of her sister’s death.  After Poe’s death, Stella and Will take serious risks and leave the hospital to see the city’s skyline lights.  During this, Stella almost dies after falling through a frozen pond, but Will resuscitates her and she is able to return safely to the hospital to receive a lung transplant.

“The movie very importantly raises awareness about a rare genetic disorder, cystic fibrosis,” said freshman Ashley Cohen.

However, not all audience members found the movie deeply moving, with many finding it rather too shallow.

“The problem with Five Feet Apart is that it chooses to focus on the weakest narrative – a dull, sappy romance that is heavy on melodrama and light on realism,” said Rotten Tomatoes critic Matthew Toomey.

The movie ultimately scored a solid 55% review website Rotten Tomatoes, and 53% on Metacritic.

“It’s a love story, with an unexpected ending,” said freshman Nicole Meehan.

While not all may find the overall outcome of the romance movie to be favorable, the performance of the cast and other production features have undoubtedly appealed to many viewers about various themes of friendship, sacrifice, and, of course, love.