By Marc Woodfork
The well-intentioned “Five Feet Apart” is in theaters and I applaud the filmmakers for trying to bring to light the awful conditions that people suffering from cystic fibrosis have to try and live with. This film should have stayed in the realm of TV’s afterschool special programs. Maybe a Hallmark Channel film.
The film stars Haley Lu Richardson as a teenager with CF trying to live her life as best she can from the confines of a hospital room. There are other teens in the hospital that suffer from CF that she has bonded with. But, due to the disease, all of the teens have limited access to each other – and when in the same room together, they must stay at least five feet apart. The problem with the film is, we’ve seen this story before. Different disease or ailment, but same story. The formula has been tried and tested and more often than not, it fails.
“Five Feet Apart” wants to be the great romantic story of two people thrown into a situation beyond their control, and against all odds their love will conquer all. Yes, the film is just as phony as that last sentence. Had the filmmakers tried to do something different or had taken bigger risks, then maybe we have a better movie. They didn’t. They ‘borrowed’ from similar films and essentially changed the characters names.
However, I believe Haley Lu Richardson has a bright future in the business if she’s given the right material to work with. She was the lone shining star in the film. The next time and there will be a next time when a filmmaker will produce another film of this genre, I hope they realize that audiences especially teens, if that’s their target demographic, can handle a smarter, mature film. Most teens these days are dealing with real life crisisis or they know someone close to them that is. There is no need to dumb the content down. People who actually have to live with afflictions deserve better.