By Ayumi Davis
I’m an avid reader and love when books get adapted into movies. Some are big flops, some are just alright and some do really well. When “Five Feet Apart” was becoming a movie, I read the book and prepared myself. As far as book-to-movie adaptations go, this was well done.
The storyline and plot stays pretty true to the book, including specific lines and the littlest of details, from hospital food sprinkled with black truffles, to the pre-teen embarassment of braces many kids know, including Stella. The casting was great; Cole Sprouse as the brooding, pessimistic Will; Haley Lu Richardson as the meticulous, bright Stella; Moises Arias as the wonderful friend Poe and the lovable and warm nurse Barb, played by Kimberly Hebert Gregory. The characters I imagined in my head had came to life through these actors, giving my heart a squeeze of joy.
The love in the story was innocent and refreshing, but with a tragic background, as Will and Stella have cystic fibrosis (CF) where they must stay six feet apart at all times. People with CF risk cross infecting each other, as the mucus buildup in their lungs allows germs to grow and multiply. This causes them to be more vulnerable to lung infections, and since their lungs don’t work well in the first place, could lead to serious problems. When people sneeze or cough, germs can travel in the air as far as six feet, thus people with CF must stay a minimum of six feet away from each other. Stella and Will push through the struggles that life has given them and do their best to stay together and give the love they possess life and vibrancy.
The movie had similar vibes as “The Fault In Our Stars,” as the main characters in the story also have a life-threatening medical condition and fall in love. What sets “Five Feet Apart” apart from “The Fault In Our Stars,” though, was that there seems to be more development of Stella and Will as people and coming to terms with their situations, alongside their love story. The personal development of Stella and Will leaves viewers not only rooting for their love story but also supporting them in their changes of perspective to a more determined, positive outlook.
Even though I had prepared my heart for the movie, having read the book, I still cried. The scenes, the music and the acting still had me shedding tears from my eyes. There’s a sense of reality in the story, that life may not always give you what you want, but it’s what you make of it that makes it memorable and enjoyable. It’s a good teen romance/coming-of-age moment for both Stella and Will as they realize that it’s okay to live for themselves and to live to the fullest extent they can, as reckless as they can be, to love deeply, imagine wildly, smile crazily and explore fully.
The soundtrack was done well, matching the scenes and having them draw out more emotions already given from the acting and story. The songs were light, full of hope, leaning on a slight ethereal feel and described the feelings of first love. The sounds felt very much like a music box. You can clearly hear all the individual notes, with emphasis on string instruments as well, providing good contrast and harmony in the soundtrack.
One thing that would have been nice would have been to also see the full development of Will and Stella’s relationship, as well as the improvement of relationships with their parents. While it is understandable the love is the main part of the book and the movie, the side relationships are important as well. They also help build Will’s and Stella’s characters, too. It would have been nice to see how Will’s dynamic with his mom changed from beginning to end. The same could be said for how Stella’s parents worked through their troubles to help her.
Overall, the movie was good from beginning to end. My eyes were locked on the screen for all of the moments: the ups and downs of Will and Stella’s relationships and the antics in the hospital. It had me in my feelings, squealing for the cute moments and tears streaming down for the sad ones. For those who are suckers for sappy romances, this one’s for you.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10