‘Five Feet Apart’ | Film Review: Love, Treatment Drugs, and Melodrama

You know what to expect when you’re about to sit down and view any latest teen romance drama. If the story involves two good looking people and can’t be able to be with each other, let’s say a disease, then it’s not hard to know if Five Feet Apart will be for your eyes only.

What’s the Story: Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) is a teenage girl who spends most of her life in and out of the hospital as she’s someone who has cystic fibrosis (CF) along with Will (Cole Sprouse), another patient with the same illness. But besides one following the daily routines and the other a rebel, they can’t come within six feet apart from each other. To help each other out, they plan to do their doses together, and maybe some sparks will bloom.

Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson in Five Feet Apart (2019)

If your mind went to The Fault In Our Stars or Everything, Everything from the trailers alone, you’re not alone. You think the kind of story that Five Feet Apart will put and director Justin Baldoni (Jane the Virgin) wants to make a tearjerker, but does it work in spades? I honestly can’t say it does.

What’s easily the movie’s biggest strength that many would agree on is the performance of Haley Lu Richardson. She has absolutely the guiding light in any scene she’s in. Ever since The Edge of Seventeen, I’ve been waiting for her to be in more movies, and as Stella, I did care about her health. Sprouse, on the other hand, wasn’t good in his performance, in my opinion. He plays one of those brooding bad boys I don’t care about. Because of that reasoning, it was hard for me not to buy into their chemistry. I just feel like someone else could’ve replaced him and it might’ve been better.

Also, Moisés Ares as Poe, Stella’s gay best friend, was enjoyable and he was able to provide good relief when the movie starts to be boring.

Should we be rooting for these two to be together in the end? Sure, but I wasn’t convinced when their polar opposites and you can easily tell when they’ll fall in love. Some might find the romance between the two to be sweet. Maybe I’m in the minority with this, but there was no way of convincing me otherwise.

On an emotional side, I didn’t not well up with tears. I will give a ton of credit for Lu Richardson dramatic chops when her characters need to be feeling sad. But it wasn’t even on the same wavelength as The Fault In Our Stars.

Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson in Five Feet Apart (2019)

It’s just it tried too hard to be emotionally attached to the story, written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis, and it doesn’t work when most don’t care for these kinds of teen movies. Moments of cliché dialogue are spread out, and it won’t come as shocking when certain things happen. There’s even a montage of sadness set to a sad song.

By the end of Five Feet Apart, I didn’t enjoy it. Though Lu Richardson’s performance was great, and it does offer a touching enough ending, the overabundance of cliché and lack of chemistry with the two leads couldn’t make me emotionally invested. Watch any other teen romance that captures the feels, and it’s good for its demographic.

Grade: C-


Cast: Haley Lu Richardson, Cole Sprouse, Moisés Arias, Kimberly Hébert Gregory

Director: Justin Baldoni

Writer(s): Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis

Runtime: 116 Minutes

Studio: Lionsgate and CBS Films


 

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