Five Feet Apart

Romance Drama Revolves Around Forbidden Love Between Hospitalized Teens

Stella Grant (Haley Lu Richardson) is a typical 17-year-old in most regards. However, she is also suffering from cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease which makes her very susceptible to a variety of breathing disorders.

Consequently, she spends much of her time in the hospital receiving a “tune-up” for this or that malady. She’s currently receiving treatment for bronchitis on a ward with several fellow CF patients, including her BFF, Poe (Moises Arias), although there is a strictly-enforced rule that they stay at least six feet apart at all times, because they could easily infect each other.

That regulation is put to the test upon the arrival of newcomer Will Newman (Cole Sprouse), a CF victim with a bacteria which would prove fatal should Stella catch it from him. But, the two kids fall in love at first sight, so they find it hard to resist one another.

Luckily, nurse Barb (Kimberly Hebert Gregory) is there to monitor the movements of the young patients. She has been particularly vigilant to prevent any rendezvous on her watch, ever since an incident that led to a tragic ending.

Thus, unfolds Five Feet Apart, a bittersweet romance drama marking the noteworthy, feature film directorial debut of actor Justin Baldoni (Jane the Virgin). Baldoni deserves considerable credit for coaxing impressive performances out of Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse, who manage to generate convincing chemistry in challenging roles where they can’t touch each other.

The movie’s sole flaw rests in its unnecessarily adding a melodramatic twist more appropriate for a soap opera. During the picture’s climactic moment, we suddenly learn that Stella’s prayers for a lung transplant might have miraculously just been answered. A distracting rabbit-out-the-hat development that almost ruins an otherwise poignant love story.

 

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated PG-13 for profanity, mature themes and suggestive material

Running time: 116 minutes

Production Companies: CBS Films / Wayfarer Entertainment

Distributors: CBS Films / Lionsgate

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

For movies opening March 15, 2019

 WIDE RELEASES

Captive State (PG-13 for action, violence, sexuality, brief profanity, and drug use) Sci-fi thriller unfolding in a Chicago neighborhood about a decade after it was occupied by an extraterrestrial force. Co-starring John Goodman, Vera Farmiga, KiKi Layne, Alan Ruck, and Machine Gun Kelly.

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (PG for peril, mild epithets, mature themes, and suggestive material) Sophia Lillis stars in the title role in this adaptation of the second novel in Carolyn Keene’s classic mystery series which finds the teen sleuth teaming with her BFFs (Zoe Renee and Mackenzie Graham) to solve a case of paranormal activity in a haunted house. Supporting cast includes Linda Lavin, Laura Wiggins, Andrea Anders, and Sam Trammell.

Wonder Park (PG for action and mature themes) Animated fantasy about a motherless 10-year-old (Brianna Denski) who discovers that the magical amusement park she’s been imagining really exists in the forest outside of her math camp. Voice cast includes Jennifer Garner, Matthew Broderick, Kenan Thompson, John Oliver, and Dr. Ken Jeong.

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

The Aftermath (R for sexuality, nudity, violence, and some disturbing images) Adaptation of Rhidian Brook’s best seller of the same name, set in the ruins of Hamburg in 1946, chronicling the tensions which arise when a German widower (Alexander Skarsgard) with a troubled daughter (Flora Thiemann) is forced to surrender his mansion to the British colonel (Jason Clarke) in charge of rebuilding the city. With Keira Knightley, Fionn O’Shea, and Kate Phillips. (In English and Russian with subtitles)

Faith, Hope & Love (PG for mature themes) Faith-based romantic comedy about a recent divorcee (Peta Murgatroyd) and a grieving widower (Robert Krantz) who both get a second chance at love after they meet and enter a dance contest as partners. Supporting cast includes Michael “Kramer” Richards, Corbin Bernsen, Ed Asner, and M. Emmet Walsh.

Finding Steve McQueen (R for sexual references and pervasive profanity) Crime thriller, set in 1972, about a motley gang of thieves’ attempt to steal $30 million from Richard Nixon’s slush fund of illegal campaign contributions. Co-starring Travis Fimmel, Forest Whitaker, Rachael Taylor, William Fichtner, and Rhys Coiro.

The Hummingbird Project (R for pervasive profanity) Finance drama about a couple of cousins (Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgard) who hatch a plan to make millions in high-frequency trading by constructing their own fiber optic cable running from Kansas City to New Jersey. Featuring Salma Hayek, Michael Mando, and Ayisha Issa.

The Mustang (R for profanity, violence, and drug use) Rehabilitation drama about a convicted felon (Matthias Schoenaerts) who is given a shot at redemption when he is placed in a horse training program run by a no-nonsense vet (Bruce Dern). With Jason Mitchell, Connie Britton, and Josh Stewart.

Yardie (Unrated) Idris Elba makes his directorial debut with this adaptation of Victor Headley’s crime caper of the same name, set in the Seventies, about a young Jamaican (Aml Ameen) hired by a local drug kingpin (Sheldon Shepherd) to smuggle a shipment of cocaine to a British gangster (Stephen Graham) located in London. With Shantol Jackson, Fraser James, and Akin Gazi.

This Week’s DVD Releases

Top Ten Home Video List for March 12, 2019

  1. Green Book
  2. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
  3. Over the Limit
  4. Chef Flynn
  5. Marquise
  6. The Simple Heist [Series 1]
  7. Nightflyers [Season One]
  8. Someone to Watch over Me
  9. Neighbors
  10. Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Honorable Mention

  1. Mortal Engines
  2. Piercing

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