Starring: Haley Lu Richardson, Cole Sprouse, Moises Arias, Kimberly Hebert Gregory, Parminder Nagra, Emily Baldoni, Gary Weeks, Claire Forlani
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Romantic drama directed by Justin Baldoni in which the story centers on teenager Stella Grant (Haley Lu Richardson), who after living most of her life in the hospital due to cystic fibrosis, meets another teenage CF patient, Will Newman (Cole Sprouse). While there’s an instant connection between the two, their health conditions restrict them from coming too close to each other, and Stella must try and save Will, who rebels against his ongoing medical treatments.
Our Favorite Quote:'We need that touch from the one we love, almost as much as we need air to breathe. But I never understood the importance of touch. His touch. Until I couldn't have it.' - Stella (Five Feet Apart) Click To Tweet
Stella: [voice over] Human touch. Our first form of communication. Safety, security, comfort, all in the gentle caress of a finger. Or the brush of lips on a soft cheek. It connects us when we’re happy, bolsters us in times of fear, excites us in times of passion and love. We need that touch from the one we love, almost as much as we need air to breathe. But I never understood the importance of touch. His touch. Until I couldn’t have it.
Will: Saw you moving in your stuff. There was a lot of it. Are you going to be here for a while?
[Stella ignores him]
[Stella continues to ignore him]
Will: Oh. You’re deaf.
Stella: Shouldn’t you be procuring your room for your guests? You rent by the hour or what?
Will: So that was you lurking in the hall.
Stella: Mm, I don’t lurk, and you followed me here.
Will: I wanted to introduce myself, but that little attitude of yours…
Stella: Let me guess. You’re the kind of guy that ignores the rules because it makes you feel in control. Am I right?
Will: You’re not wrong.
Stella: You think that’s cute?
Will: Do you think it’s cute?
Stella: Letting your friends borrow your room for sex is disgusting, so, no.
Will: You don’t like sex?
Stella: No, I like sex. I like sex. Sex is fine.
Will: Fine isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, but I’ll take some common ground where I can get it.
Stella: We have nothing in common.
Will: Ooh, that’s cold.
[to Stella and Will]
Nurse Barb: What are you doing up here? Six feet at all times. You both know the rules. Will, get back to your room.
Will: There you go. A little name for your psychological profile. I’m Will Newman. And you are?
[Will turns to leave and Stella puts her mask on]
Nurse Barb: Stella, thank you for putting your mask back on.
Will: Stella. You need to lighten up. It’s just life. It’ll be over before you know it.
[he puts his mask on and leaves]
[referring to Will]
Stella: So, he’s a CFer?
Nurse Barb: B. cepacia. Part of a new drug trial for Cevaflomalin. You contract that and you can kiss the possibility of new lungs goodbye. There’s no coming back from that bacteria. Stay away.
[Will is watching a video of Stella talking about her condition]
Stella: Like all kids with cystic fibrosis, I was born terminal, which doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to die tomorrow, but I could die tomorrow. Anyone could die tomorrow. I just have a little bit less time than everyone else. My lungs are at about fifty percent function right now. So at this rate, Dr. Hamid says that I’ll need a transplant by the time I’m a junior in high school. That’ll be fun.
[Will is watching a video of Stella talking about her condition]
Stella: Cystic fibrosis, as you know, is a genetic disease that basically makes my body produce a shit ton of mucus. Fun fact, I have to be extremely careful around other people with CF. The rule is that we’re not supposed to get within six feet because we could end up catching each other’s bacteria. A lot of people don’t realize that new lungs generally only last about five years, which is okay actually because most of us are just trying to stay alive long enough for a new treatment to come out.
Dr. Noor Hamid: Phase one clinical trials only started only eighteen months ago, so we need to be patient, and Will needs to help us with that. The risk of cross infection will be even higher now, so…
Will: Don’t cough on any other CFers.
Dr. Noor Hamid: Well, don’t get close enough to touch them for their safety and yours.
Will: Six feet at all times. I got it.
Dr. Noor Hamid: Will, in order for this to work, you need to keep up with your regimen.
[finding Will up on the hospital roof]
Stella: What are you doing? Do you have a death wish or something?
Will: Hey, my lungs are toast, okay? Can you just let me enjoy this view while I can?
Stella: Do you know how lucky you are to be here? To be a part of this drug trial?
Will: How do you know about my drug trial? You been asking about me?
Stella: If you don’t care, then leave. Give your spot to someone else. Someone that wants it, that wants to live.
[Will suddenly stands at the edge of roof]
Stella: What are you doing? Will? Will, stop, please! Please get down now! Will, stop! Oh, my God!
[Will jumps down from the edge]
[Will starts laughing]
Stella: Fine. Stay up here then.
[Stella turns and starts to walk to the doorway to the stairs]
Will: Come on. It was a joke.
[Stellas goes throw the doorway and leaves]
Will: Hey, it was a joke.
Will: Look, I get that you have some kind of save the world hero complex going on, but can you leave me out of it?
Stella: These meds are not optional.
Will: Yeah, that’s probably why they keep shoving them down my throat.
Stella: You’re making me crazy.
[she turns and storms off]
Stella: I have control issues, and I need to know that things are in order, and I know that you’re not doing your treatments, and it’s really, really messing me up.
Will: Okay, I want to help you. I do. I don’t even know how to do what you’re asking me to.
Stella: That’s bullshit. That’s bullshit! All CFers know how to administer their own treatments. We’re practically doctors by the time we’re twelve.
Will: Are you serious? Am I actually messing you up?
Will: Alright. I’ll help you. But if I do, what’s in it for me? No, not like, I want to draw you.
Will: Why not? I’m serious.
Will: Okay. Then no deal.
Stella: You really can’t practice just a little bit of discipline even to save your own life?
Will: Stella, nothing is going to save our lives. We’re breathing borrowed air. Enjoy it.
[he turns and leaves]
[agreeing to Will drawing her in order for him to follow his medical regimen]
Stella: Fine. But I’m not posing for hours on end. And your regimen, we’re doing it my way. Okay, the first thing you’re going to do is get a med cart in your room. Deal?
[he holds out hand, Stella goes to shake it but stops herself]
Will: Shake on it?
[she turns and walks off]
Poe: Okay, Stella. Don’t tell me that the one time you’re interested in some guy, he’s a CFer.
Stella: I just helped him set up his med cart. That’s it. That’s all.
Poe: I know you, Stella. Organizing a med cart is like foreplay.
[talking via video chat]
Stella: Okay, I can’t trust you, so this is how it’s going to work. We’re going to do our treatments together, so that way I know you’re actually doing them. Okay?
Will: Always looking for ways to spend more time with me, aren’t you, Stella?
[closes her laptop]
Julie: I like seeing you like this.
Will: Like what?
Poe: Maybe it’s better this way.
Stella: No, I can figure this out. I need to figure this out.
Poe: We’re not normal kids. We don’t get to take chances like this.
Stella: Oh, come on. You’re not going to give me that, too?
Poe: Admit what’s going on here. Will’s a risk-taker, just like Abby.
Stella: What’s that supposed to mean? You think that I’m the one that’s afraid to take risks? What about you and your life and your relationships? You and Tim, you and Rick, you and Michael.
Poe: Don’t go there.
Stella: Oh, I could keep going. They knew you were sick and they loved you. You were the one who ran. Every time, you ran.
Poe: You don’t know what you’re talking about!
Stella: You ruined every chance you’ve ever had at love, so just keep your advice to yourself.
[making up after their earlier argument]
Poe: You know, you’re right. I am afraid. You know what someone gets for loving me? They get to pay for all my care. And then they get to watch me die. Deductibles, meds, hospital stays, surgeries. When I turn eighteen, there’s no more full coverage. Who should I put that on? Michael or my family? It’s my sickness, it’s my problem.
Stella: Maybe we can get Will to marry you. He’s loaded.
Poe: He’s not picky. He likes you.
[they both chuckle]
Poe: I am sorry, about you and Will.
[Stella is making a video for a social media]
Stella: Fun fact, a cough can travel six feet, a sneeze can travel up to two hundred miles per hour. But the “no saliva” thing also means no kissing. Ever. So, our best defense is distance. Six feet at all times.
[Stella is making a video for a social media]
Stella: Ta-da! Here’s a pool cue. It measures approximately five feet. Five feet. I’ve given a lot of thought to foot number six. And you know what? It made me mad. When you have cystic fibrosis, so much is taken from you. You live every day of your life according to treatments, and pills, and schedules. Most of us can’t have children. A lot of us don’t even live long enough to try to have children. Shit, it’s complicated to try to explain, but it’s even hard to fall in love. So, after all that CF has stolen from me, from us, I don’t mind stealing a little something back. One foot. One fucking foot of space, of distance, of length, or whatever you want to call it. I don’t mind stealing that back. Because, CF, you’re not the thief anymore. I’m the thief now.
Stella: Five feet apart. Deal? Are you in?
[pause as Will looks at her for a moment]
Will: I’m so in.
Stella: Why didn’t I pack anything nice?
Poe: Oh, because you always pack for a hot hospital romance.
Stella: There is this one theory I like that says, “To understand death, you have to look at birth.” So, like, while we’re in the womb, we’re living that existence, not knowing that our next existence is just an inch away. So, maybe it’s the same with death. Maybe death is just the next life, but an inch away.
Will: Or maybe it’s just a big sleep, baby. Lights out. Done and done.
[referring to her sister, Abby]
Stella: No. No, there’s no way that Abby just blinked out. I refuse to believe it.
Will: What happened with Abby?
Stella: She was cliff diving in California. She landed wrong, broke her neck and drowned. They said she didn’t feel any pain, but how would they know if she felt pain? I was supposed to be there with her, but I got sick. Like I always do.
[referring to Abby]
Stella: I just keep imagining it over and over again. What she was feeling.
[she starts to cry]
Stella: Without knowing that, she just never stops dying.
Will: Stella. Even if you were there, you still wouldn’t know.
Stella: But I wasn’t there. She died alone.
Will: Isn’t that how we’re going to die? Drowning. Just without the water. Our own fluids doing the dirty work.
Will: I think about that last breath a lot. Gasping for air, not getting any. No air, just black. But that’s only on Mondays. Otherwise, I don’t dwell on it.
[Stella smiles at him]
Will: There’s that smile.
Will: [to Stella] God, you’re beautiful, and brave. I wish I could touch you.
[after Poe dies]
Stella: [sobbing] Oh, my God! Oh, my God! He’s gone! Michael’s never going to see him again. His parents are never going to see him again. I’m never going to see him again. I never hugged him! I never hugged him! He’s my best friend and I never fucking hugged him! Oh, God! I’m losing everyone.
Will: You’re not losing me.
[Will touches her shoulder, but she smacks his hand away]
Stella: What are you doing?
[Will backs off]
Stella: Get out! Get out!
Will: I’m sorry.
Stella: Get out!
Stella: This whole time, I’ve been living for my treatments, instead of doing my treatments so that I can live. I want to live. It’s just life, Will. It’ll be over before we know it.
[Stella watches a video message from Will after waking up from her surgery]
Will: My beautiful, bossy Stella. I guess it’s true, what that book of yours says. That the soul knows no time. My drug trial’s not working. I want you to know that this past month will last forever for me. My only regret is that you didn’t get to see your lights.
[the lights are turned off, Will turns on the lights outside her room]
[Will speaks to Stella through the glass of her room]
Will: You know, people are always saying if you love something, you have to learn to let it go. I thought that was such bullshit, till I watched you almost die. In that moment, Stella, nothing mattered to me, except you. I’m sorry. I don’t want to go. All I want is to be with you. I can’t. I need you to be safe, from me. I don’t know what comes next, but I don’t regret any of this.
[Stella shakes her head as she cries]
Will: Could you close your eyes? I just don’t know if I can walk away if you’re still looking at me. Please.
[Stella closes her eyes as she sobs]
Will: I love you so much.
[he turns and walks away]
[we see Stella talking making another one of her social media videos]
Stella: Human touch. Our first form of communication. Safety, security, comfort, all in the gentle caress of a finger. Or the brush of lips on a soft cheek. It connects us when we’re happy, bolsters us in times of fear, excites us in times of passion and love. We need that touch from the one we love, almost as much as we need air to breathe. But I never understood the importance of touch. His touch. Until I couldn’t have it. So if you’re watching this, and you’re able, touch him. Touch her. Life’s too short to waste a second.
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