‘Five Feet Apart’ Sheds Light on Cystic Fibrosis

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Five Feet Apart, released on March 15 and directed by Justin Baldoni, features Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson portraying two teens with cystic fibrosis, an incurable genetic disorder that thickens the mucus, quickly affecting the lungs and other organs of patients. Adapted from Rachael Lippincott’s book of the same name, the movie is rated PG-13 and is considered both drama and romance.

CF is known as an invisible illness, because patients will not look sick from the outside, but they are suffering from the disease internally. Unfortunately, patients with CF have to stay six feet away from each other at all times, because they are contagious to one another. Director, Justin Baldoni, found it interesting to direct a movie without the sense of touch. He had to find another way for the characters to interact by relying on their other senses, while still impacting the audience.

Stella, played by Richardson, is in the hospital and follows an organized and meticulously planned-out lifestyle, not taking any risks. She is a control freak and is very consistent when taking all of her medications. Although she is very sick, she keeps a positive outlook on life and continually reminds herself that she has her whole life left to live; however, it seems as though she is living for her treatments rather than using her treatments to live. Just a few rooms down from her, is a boy named Will, played by Sprouse, who also suffers from CF. Will tends to look at the negative side of things. He does not see any hope in his life, strongly dislikes his treatments claiming they are pointless due to the fact he’s living off of borrowed air. and thinks that his life will soon be taken away from him by his disease.

To gain revenge against CF, and take something back that CF has taken from her, Stella takes back one foot, giving the movie its title.”

Eventually, ‘opposites attract,’ and these characters with polar opposite personalities develop a deep and meaningful bond. Unfortunately, patients with CF have to stay six feet away from each other at all times, because they are contagious to one another. To gain revenge against CF, and take something back that CF has taken from her, Stella takes back one foot, giving the movie its title. Both Stella and Will learn a new meaning of life and they help each other through the horrible times of suffering from cystic fibrosis.

Upon release the movie was met with mixed reviews. Some members of the cystic fibrosis community claim that the depiction of the disease is dangerously inaccurate, while others argue that the film brings recognition to the community.

Five Feet Apart is an emotionally packed movie that pulls at the heartstrings of those who watch it. The movie forces viewers to open their eyes to the realization that there are thousands of people suffering from CF each day. Our suggestion when you head to the movie theater: bring three boxes of tissues. And while you may shed a few tears, Five Feet Apart explains that there comes a time for individuals suffering from cystic fibrosis when they stop living for their treatments and they start doing their treatments so that they can live.

Our suggestion when you head to the movie theater: bring three boxes of tissues.”

Five Feet Apart is currently playing at Bow Tie Caldwell Cinemas, 317 Bloomfield Ave., Caldwell.

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