Walking into the cinema, I knew very little regarding the film Five Feet Apart. I knew a bit about the actors and that potentially it would be quite a tear-jerker.
I found this film was a beautiful, informative story, looking at the realities of life with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). We are introduced to Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) a CF patient who between managing her CF writes lists and vlogs her life as a CF patient. She meets another CF patient Will (Cole Sprouse), whom unlike Stella isn’t as vigilant with his routine, especially when it comes to the new trial they are undertaking.
I really liked the way the story was told. Initially we’re introduced to Stella’s videos, where each one details or looks at a different facet of the illness, it is in this way we learn about CF throughout the film. This was achieved brilliantly, and I think it really relates to todays day and age where daily vlogging is something that has become embedded into culture.
I also loved the interaction between characters. As we know from the title the idea of five feet apart will be of great importance within the film. We learn about the strict rules when it comes to CF patients interacting. Whilst there can be no physical interaction between the patients I really liked the use of technology. We are introduced to her best friend Poe (Moisés Arias) who also has CF. Again, the two can never touch. We really gain a sense of the restrictions when we get to the point where Poe wants to give Stella a hug, and you can see the emotional struggle behind the situation. We also see the relationship between the nurses and patients. We gained a sense of family within this relationship. It was a lovely thing to see on screen. Having spoken with nurses before I know how hard it can be, but also how rewarding these relationships can be. I was extremely happy to see this on screen.
A key message within the film was to not take things for granted. In this case, touch. It really comes to light when Stella and Will develop a relationship. I think all the actors in this film achieved a great level of brilliance in their performances, especially when it came to the physical and emotional aspects within. It wasn’t just the restrictions placed upon these patients that were brought to light via their performances, but the treatment itself. Whilst we were only given a glimpse into what patients endure, the actors interacted with devices such as the High Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation vest. This was a strong cast, each role was quite unique but linked by friendship. I thought the performances by the young cast were absolutely gripping and emotional. With each role you could see the strength behind what was being said, and the depth of emotion achieved by the young cast. Richardson, Sprouse and Arias created a beautiful story by their stunning performances.
The film is 2 hours and 15 minutes, and whilst it might seem long I personally found each part contributed to the story. Generally, I can pick and choose to cut things from a film, however I really couldn’t within this film. Even in the quieter moments I felt like the emotion provided great resonance. At the end of the film, I noticed a fair amount of people stay behind to discuss what we had just seen. Another beautiful moment I witnessed was the pair next to me, take a moment and hug.
I’ve been included in raising funds for Cystic Fibrosis and I have to admit reflecting on what I initially knew, versus what I now know (having seen the film) I feel there needs to be more awareness and exposure within our cultural landscape. This was a great film to create a bedrock of understanding regarding CF, and I will for sure take it further.
For more information or if you’d like to donate please visit: http://www.65roses.org.au