A romantic drama, Five Feet Apart follows two teens with cystic fibrosis—Stella Grant (Haley Lu Richardson) and Will Newman (Cole Sprause)—as they deal with a budding but forbidden relationship.
CF patients must maintain at least six feet of distance to reduce any risk of cross-infection, a rule strictly upheld by Nurse Barbara (Kimberly Hebert Grégory) and the hospital staff.
A determined rule follower, Stella has organized her life around her treatments and harbors the hope that she will someday receive a lung transplant. Cynical Will, on the other hand, likes to flaunt the rules and take risks.
Stella initially dislikes Will and admonishes him to follow his prescribed regimen. In exchange for sketching her, Will agrees to take more responsibility for his treatments.
As they grow closer, Stella decides to bend the hospital rule and “take one foot back.” Using a billiards cue, she keeps five feet away from Will during their encounters and secret dates.
The storyline is an engaging one, with many tender and bittersweet moments. My favorites include the scavenger hunt that Stella sets up for Will, the surprise dinner party hosted by best friend Poe (Moises Arias), and the sharing of their scars.
Intertwined are the crushing blows that many CF patients and their families must endure: the sudden death of a close friend and ally (Poe), the realization that a drug trial isn’t working (Will), and the final parting of the ways.
Bring lots of tissue and prepare yourself for an emotional rollercoaster.