Um… THE FAULT IN OUR STARS anyone?
The story looks like it’s about a pair of terminally ill teenagers who find romance.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Haley Lu Richardson (OPERATION FINALE , COLUMBUS , and EDGE/17 ), Cole Sprouse (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of), and Claire Forlani (HEAD FULL OF HONEY ).
Now for the crew. Directing, we have Justin Baldoni, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of. Co-writing the screenplay, we have Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis, both making their feature film debut, and for the upcoming THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA (2019). Co-composing the score are Brian Tyler (WHAT MEN WANT , RICH ASIANS , MUMMY , CRIMINAL , AVENGERS: ULTRON , THOR 2 , and RAMBO ) and Breton Vivian (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of). The cinematographer is Frank G. DeMarco, known for GIRLS/PARTIES (2018). Finally, the editor is Angela M. Catanzaro, known for THE FOREIGNER (2017).
No, seriously, convince me that one of them ain’t gonna die at the end and the other learns the value of living while still alive. Hopefully, Richardson will offset the predictable, manipulative movie, but I don’t think it’s going to be very good.
This is my honest opinion of: FIVE FEET APART
Teenager Stella Grant (Haley Lu Richardson) suffers from cystic fibrosis and is staying in the hospital for a “routine tune-up,” taking medication under medical supervision. It’s not all bad though. On top of having a Youtube channel where she talks about her illness and routine in keeping healthy, she also gets to see her oldest friend Poe (Moises Arias). But then a new element gets thrown into the mix. A cynical and hopeless boy named Will Newman (Cole Sprouse), also suffering from cystic fibrosis, who takes a quick fascination with Stella. And because he doesn’t keep up with his routines, Stella becomes fixated on trying to help him get better. The two strike up a relationship of sorts as she slowly begins to fall for him, but unable to touch him due to their illness.
Mmph, it’s not very good. It’s actually pretty bad, saved only by Richardson and her fantastic ability to, you know, act.
I’m just going to say it, and it’s likely that my co-worker will not approve of my opinion, but the irredeemable element to the movie is Will. There is nothing about this character that I enjoy. From the moment he appears on screen, all I could say is… “hate.” He stalks Stella around the hospital and… is basically class-A dick-weed. He just spouts that they’re going to die, and in the most macho white-male way possible, says that she needs to lighten up and enjoy her life. This is who he is for pretty much the entire movie. All he does is complain, bitch, and assert himself in a way that makes him extremely despicable. To make matters even worse, the dude somehow figures out that she does Youtube videos and starts binging immediately after he was an ass to her as she tried to be nice to him and save his life. But of course, being the kind of movie that this is, Stella eventually finds him charming and adorable. Blow me, movie. I was on her side when she said, “If you don’t want the treatment, then leave and let someone else have his spot who wants it.” I mean, principle alone, because he’s such a dick-munch, that’s what should happen anyway, but thank God I’m not in the medical field, or sick assholes would be dying left and right. The best this character ever gets is that he’s so dull that he eventually becomes wallpaper, only to revert to being gross. In the sense that because I don’t like his character, and therefore despise their relationship, his constant goo-goo eyes are gross. I mean, what business is it of his to tell her how to live her life? Does he go around telling less attractive boys with cystic fibrosis to lighten up and enjoy their borrowed time? Or only the hot and quirky chick that gives him reason to jerk off? I freakin’ wonder!
So with all of these complaints, is there anything that I find redeeming? Now that you mention it…
Richardson is the only thing about this movie that is consistently good. Now, that’s not to say that Stella is somehow different from any other character like this. Dare I say it, I think she’s absolutely no different from Hazel from FAULT IN OUR STARS. Fatal sickness, kind of a goodie-two-shoes, and jokes non-stop. Had anyone else other than Richardson taken this role, I’d be annoyed with this character. Richardson’s charm and charisma sells Stella. The information she gives over her Youtube clips are cute, but informative. When she’s wearing her pneumatic vest (I think that’s what it’s called), she’s making funny noises, basically acting like a dork, which only Richardson would be able to do well. I love her scenes when she’s interacting with Poe. They give each other shit, like real friends do, they’re honest with each other, for better or worse, and both scenarios are explored in their friendship. She’s gracious and respectful of the nurses that take care of her, and has her own motivations for being so committed to her treatment. Again, the only thing I dislike about her is the sheer lack of reasons why she’s attracted to Will.
I suppose to mention anything else would be a side-note. The other side characters, like, Dr. Hamid (Parminder Nagra) and Nurse Barb (Kimberly Hebert Gregory) are solid. There are emotional moments that hit their marks, so the movie isn’t a complete loss. But when the crux of the movie is the relationship, and the relationship is built from a foundation of cruelty and insensitivity, this cripples the movie to an unbearable degree. Had this movie just been about a teenage girl trying to get by with her illness, this would have had a better shot. But as is… it’s not good, and I don’t really like it. As a recommendation, I say it’s a pass. Not worth seeing either in theaters, or as a rental. If you’re a fan of Richardson, then maybe it’s a rental, but beyond that, you’re not missing much.
My honest rating for FIVE FEET APART: a weak 3/5
This week’s reviews:
- THE AFTERMATH
- THE MUSTANG
- CAPTIVE STATE
- WONDER PARK
- THE HUMMINGBIRD PROJECT
- NANCY DREW AND THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE
- NO MANCHES FRIDA 2: PARAÍSO DESTRUIDO
- PLAIRE, AIMER ET COURIR VITE / SORRY ANGEL
- FAITH, HOPE & LOVE
Next week’s reviews: