Five Feet Apart is the newest film in the illness teen romance genera, a film about two teens living with cystic fibrosis, and despite their limitations, try to make their love work no matter the distance between them.
This is the first full length film directed by Justin Baldoni and stars Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse in the leading roles. This is Sprouse’s first time leading a full length film. The film is also written by new film writers Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis. Starting to notice a pattern here? There are a lot of first timers attached to this project – and it shows.
This is not a bad film, per-say. It’s just cookie cutter, very safe film. If you are a fan of these types of movies – especially if you liked A Fault in Our Stars, then you will almost assuredly like this. If are not a fan of these types of movies then this is not the one that is going to win you over.
Five Feet Apart is very predictable in its story telling. It is the story of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Only instead of two different families separating the young lovers, its cystic fibrosis and hospital rules standing in the way of true love. If you know the play, then you can guess beat for beat what happens in this movie. They are not shy about showing that they are basing it on the Shakespeare play either. Richardson’s character, Stella, openly says that she has studied all of Shakespeare’s plays – a little wink to the audience. And the two lovers have a major interaction in the beginning of the movie that starts by one looking out of the hospital window at the other – “what light through yonder window breaks.” Starting to see the parallels? There are loads more.
The dialog and writing is all over the place. One moment it’s cheesy and bland – and then the next you finally start getting the feels. The more lighthearted interactions between the characters are written as if done in a high school film course. The movie has lots of what I like to call “role your eyes moments.” However then something tragic would happen,while completely predictable, it is portrayed to perfection by Haley Lu Richardson. She is the reason you feel any emotion in this film at all. By far she is the film’s shining star.
The biggest negative about the movie is Cole Sprouse, playing the second lead, Will. All he is capable of offering in this movie is a pretty face – its definitely not his acting.
Pacing is another issue. The film clocks in at two hours long and it suffers because of it. The movie takes way to long getting to the “love” stuff. It is handholding the audience through explaining exactly what cystic fibrosis is, and why it is bad. While this is absolutely essential for those not familiar with the disease, it shouldn’t take over 30 minutes of explanation before getting to the main story. Especially when the entire film takes place within a hospital and we can learn about it as we go. When one quarter of a film’s runtime is taken over by explaining why these characters on “borrowed air” it slows the pacing down drastically.
In summation – Five Feet Apart is absolutely a film that some people will like, but only if these kind of love stories are your thing. For me, the pacing felt slow, the dialogue needs work and the story is beyond predictable. I did leave the theater feeling like I learned more about the disease inflicting these characters, but not entertained by a story of two tragic lovers. As I stated previously, if you are a fan of these kinds of movies already then you will probably like this one. Like it, but you probably won’t love it. If you are not a fan of these kinds of films you may want to watch something else.
Overall, I am giving Five Feet Apart 5/10.
Have you seen Five Feet Apart? If so, what are your thoughts on the movie? Movies are subjective so you may have a completely different thought on the film, and I want to know your opinion. Leave a comment below and let’s make a discussion out of it.