Five Feet Apart (2019) – Summary, Review (with Spoilers)

Five Feet Apart (2019) - Title Card

Five Feet Apart not only delivers the expected tears but the kind of performances which legitimize the YA genre beyond predecessors.

Five Feet Apart not only delivers the expected tears but the kind of performances which legitimize the YA genre beyond predecessors.

Director(s) Justin Baldoni
Written By Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis
Date Released 3/15/2019
Genre(s) Drama, Romance, Young Adult
Good If You Like Crying

Movies About Terminal Teens/ Young Adults

Some Of The Best Performances You’ll Get From The Up and Comers of Hollywood

Isn’t For You If You Have Seen Many Of The Films Similar To This And Thus Are Numb To What You Believe IS The Inevitable
Noted Cast
Stella Haley Lu Richardson
Poe Moises Arias
Will Cole Sprouse
Abby Sophia Bernard

Five Feet Apart Plot Summary (Ending Explained on Page 2)

It only took a month. Thanks to her cystic fibrosis, Stella was back in the hospital and began her usual routine. She greeted her friend since she was 7, Poe, asked about him and his boyfriend, and then came Will. In many ways, Will reminded Stella of her older sister Abby. Someone a bit rebellious, a bit of a risk taker, and maybe that was the initial draw to him?

Yet, unlike with Abby, Stella found herself in the position to step in and help Will. Something which began because of Stella claiming OCD but develops into something more. Leading her and Will’s involvement with one another to become some of their greatest experiences and life, and also their lowest of sorrows. All before both can officially call themselves adults.


A Romance For The Ages

Will (Cole Sprouse) and Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) standing on a street looking at one another.
Will (Cole Sprouse) and Stella (Haley Lu Richardson)

Will and Stella are not an ideal couple or romance. Instead, we get to see what is the perfect romance for two unique people in an unfortunate situation. A romance rooted in longing, fear, hesitation, the assumption that finding someone is both selfish and impossible, yet remains a human need. A need for love which exists beyond that of what parents, a sister, or even your best friend can give. What we see from Stella and Will is the need for the kind of love which goes beyond sharing secrets but having complete intimacy.

The type which, after so many surgeries and scars, you may feel insecure, but they think you’re are beautiful. An intimacy in which, when you don’t just bare your soul and personality flaws, but physical flaws, their opinion doesn’t change. Why? Well, as said in another film, which I struggle to remember the name of, for what others may love you despite of, they love you because of. And no matter the age, everyone wants to feel that at least once, multiple times if possible.

Cole Sprouse

Will (Cole Sprouse) smiling.

Being the male love interest in a film like this sometimes just means knowing your lines, working out, and a cute face. Oh, also a little quirk and a touch of sarcasm. All of the above Sprouse gives the audience, but then he adds on additional layers.

It begins with how he looks at Richardson as Will that gets you. There is that vibe that he realizes this woman who gives him hope which has waned for months also could be the end of him. And of course the same goes for the other side. Becoming close to Will could mean the end of Stella. Yet, throughout the ebb and flow, there a sense that Sprouse wants to express Will’s desire to survive.

Like someone taking on an experimental, possibly lethal chemo treatment for cancer, Will’s interactions with Stella maybe about selling us on a love story but Sprouse delivers so much more beyond what is good for the marketing team. Sprouse strongly pushes the idea that this young man, who had every reason to give up, was probably on the verge of doing so and grasping for reasons not to. And dammit, even if the one reason he could fathom to live could hasten death, better to die in the glow of Stella’s smile than in the worried look of his mother and false hope spoken by nurses and doctors.

Haley Lu Richardson

Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) with a flower in her hair.
Stella (Haley Lu Richardson)

I’m going to avoid spoilers as much as possible in this praise when I say, even when unable to do much more than look towards Will, not speak, Richardson will have you bawling your eyes out. But there is also what she does when not interacting with Sprouse. There is this balance of optimism in her smile which is weighed by the acknowledgment that she is on borrowed time. Something that weighs on you as the movie continues and you get to know Stella. For you get to see how much effort she is putting into being happy, trying to have people not worry about her, and attempt to create some form of normalcy.

Yet, taking note of best friend Poe, how normal of a life is she was living flips things totally. Especially once you begin to learn how closed off she can be with new people and why. All of this pushes you to fall for Stella, want the best for her, and it really makes it impossible to not become a fan of Richardson’s in the process. Though, at this point, after Columbus among other films, to not be a fan of hers seems to be an active desire to refuse what could be one of the greatest actresses of this generation.

It Will F*** With Your Emotions

Not only are you going to cry, at least four or five times, the movie decides to mess with you. As noted in the on the fence portion, it is only natural some tropes of the whole sick teen love story creep in. However, there remains the question of who is going to kick the bucket and why. Something that the film plays with to throw you off guard and get your heart racing a bit – more than once.

Getting To Know What Cystic Fibrosis Is, How It Is Treated, Happens, And Alleviated

Let me begin by saying there is a bit of technical jargon used which is probably going to make you tune out from some of the ins and outs of Cystic Fibrosis. However, due to Stella’s YouTube page which explains her living with Cystic Fibrosis, you will feel a bit more knowledgeable than when the movie began. Mind you, I wouldn’t say the film pushes you to want to be a specialist nor presents anything worth a side-eye that would require you to confirm some things. What I mean is, the film gives you enough to understand what Stella and Will are going through, methods used to treat the various forms of Cystic Fibrosis, and it is pushed there is no cure. At best you can get new lungs, but that won’t fix the problem. It just buys time.

On The Fence

It Does Follow Some Expected Tropes

Honestly, if you see one dying teens movie you’ve seen them all so me saying someone dies shouldn’t be a shock to you. However, even with knowing someone is going to die it doesn’t take away from the death. Especially since the core cast we get to know are developed to the point you have your fingers crossed that nothing will happen to anyone and we’ll just get a nice love story with limited drama.

Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)Recommended | Purchase, Rent, or Get Merchandise On Amazon

Will (Cole Sprouse) giving the thumbs up.
Will (Cole Sprouse) | Click on the Image To Buy Tickets From Fandango

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Admittedly, I don’t want to watch Five Feet Apart again. It is a one and done movie. However, it is the kind of movie worth recommending for the performances stir up your emotions and really push the idea YA novel adaptations are more than assumed cash cows. That truly, with the right people behind it and in front of the camera, we can see the genre have its Logan moment.

Which I won’t say happened with Five Feet Apart, but I do think it issues a challenge to those which follow to take the baton and take things further. Hence the positive label and recommendation. From Sprouse to Richardson, keeping you on edge and making you cry, Five Feet Apart gives you all you likely expected and more.

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One Comment

  1. I agree with you that the cast is terrific. But I can’t get passed the fact that the movie doesn’t give any details behind the major death and only explores how it impacts Stella. This movie depicts CF as a horrible disease but can it really kill someone off so quickly like the movie depicts? Just a little explanation and how this impacted other characters would have gone a long way.

    For me, the movie was way too focused on the main female character. In The Fault in our Stars, there was so much interaction between the sick female teen and other characters including her parents and other healthy people which endeared her to me and gave me a chance to know her outside of cancer.

    In this film, it’s pretty much just Stella talking and she talks a lot. I loved the interaction between her and Poe and her and Will. Whereas I was bored to tears of her talking to her you-tube camera.

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