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Five Feet Apart

Opening Date
21 Mar 2019
PG13 Some Coarse Language
116 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
Drama, Romance
Justin Baldoni
Cole Sprouse, Haley Lu Richardson, Claire Forlani
Stella Grant (Haley Lu Richardson) is every bit a seventeen-year-old: she’s attached to her laptop and loves her best friends. But unlike most teenagers, she spends much of her time living in a hospital as a cystic fibrosis patient. Her life is full of routines, boundaries and self-control -- all of which is put to the test when she meets an impossibly charming fellow CF patient named Will Newman (Cole Sprouse). There’s an instant flirtation, though restrictions dictate that they must maintain a safe distance between them. As their connection intensifies, so does the temptation to throw the rules out the window and embrace that attraction. Further complicating matters is Will’s potentially dangerous rebellion against his ongoing medical treatment. Stella gradually inspires Will to live life to the fullest, but can she ultimately save the person she loves when even a single touch is off limits?
By Say Peng  12 Mar 2019
Featuring a charming and winning performance from Haley Lu Richardson, 'Five Feet Apart' is a hopeful and romantic story of two sufferers of a fatal genetic disorder.
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‘Five Feet Apart’ follows in the footsteps of films such as ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, in which the two main characters suffer from some terminal or near-terminal illness and, against all odds, fall in love and try to make it work.

Haley Lu Richardson (‘Split’) and Cole Sprouse (‘Riverdale’) star as Stella and Will, two hospital patients and sufferers of cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that mainly affects the lungs. Cystic fibrosis patients have to stay at least six feet apart from each other. If not, they risk contracting bacteria from the other party that may result in death.

Stella is a positive, upbeat girl who video-blogs her journey with cystic fibrosis. Staying a couple of wards away from each other, Will spots Stella walking down a corridor and follows her to the infant ward, where Stella regularly goes to be by herself. But when they meet, Will’s heck-care attitude over his life and treatment angers Stella, who is doing her best to stay alive.

Despite their disastrous first encounter, Stella, who also suffers from some form of compulsive disorder and cannot sleep unless things are in order, takes it upon herself to ensure that Will regularly keeps up with his treatment. Will, who has a crush on Stella, complies. But all’s not hunky dory. Will can’t get physically close to Stella without endangering both their lives and while they are willing to risk it, their nurse-in-charge Barb (Kimberly Hebert Gregory) is adamantly firm about them keeping their distance. But teenagers being teenagers, the couple finds ways to secretly meet up.

Richardson gives a winning performance, ably capturing the duality of optimism and fatalistic fear. She steals the limelight in every scene, outshining co-star Sprouse. Gregory does not get much screen time, but when she does, she commands presence and formidability as nurse Barb. Moises Arias (‘Hannah Montana’) also appears as a significant supporting character, and his comic and easy presence enlivens the tone of the film.

You know what you’d get when you walk into the cinema to watch ‘Five Feet Apart’. There will be no surprises. What’s perhaps a little different here is the film does not conclude with an easy fairy-tale happy ending. Despite its clear intention to inspire and give hope, the film, even if it has taken certain creative liberties, tries to stay true to the emotional reality of what cystic fibrosis sufferers go through.
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