REVIEW: ‘Five Feet Apart’ has just enough to engage an audience

Over the last few years, going back to at least 2014 with “The Fault in Our Stars,” there’s been quite a few films focused on older teens with terminal conditions. Fortunately for audiences, “Five Feet Apart” is one of the better ones.

“Five Feet Apart” focuses on three young characters living at a hospital as part of a clinical drug trial. The trio includes Stella (Haley Lu Richardson), Will (Cole Sprouse) and Poe (Moises Arias). Of the three, Stella is the main character and is the most positive about fighting her cystic fibrosis.

Will, meanwhile, is not as optimistic, and it annoys Stella at first. However, the two come to understand each other and eventually fall in love. However, they can never get too close with the threat of getting infected.

“Five Feet Apart” doesn’t exactly throw a lot of curve-balls at its audiences. For the most part, it goes along a fairly expected route.

However, the pacing works to the film’s advantage. The main relationship develops nicely, with a proper amount of time given to build the connection. While crossing over some cliches, the relationship is portrayed pretty believably.

The film does hit a snag though because of its run-time. The picture clocks in at nearly two hours, and it becomes a bit noticeable. Additionally, the film throws in a few scenes to really pull the heartstrings when it really isn’t necessary. There’s a part in the third act that felt like overkill and wasn’t really necessary to get the point across.

The two leads of the movie are a great strength for the picture, though, and keeps the film compelling. Lu Richardson especially lends a powerful performance, portraying a character with a lot more going on underneath the surface.

Sprouse, meanwhile, is pretty good in his role, too. He does excel in some of the movie’s later scenes.

A few of the characters in the movie do come across as a bit shallow and less than memorable. For example, both lead characters have friends who stop by here and there, but are never given much background.

Of course being a movie like this, it is true that heartstrings are pulled rather heavily and there are scenes that are cheesy. But, sometimes cheese is alright.

The movie isn’t the deepest and the acting isn’t award worthy, but there’s enough there, from the writing to the performances to win a person over. For a matinee watch, it’s not too bad. 3.0 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, and I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2009 graduate of Rainy River College and a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University in Moorhead. At MSU, I studied journalism and film. Outside of movies, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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