Honestly, young adult novel adaptations tend to be uninspired films. Granted, The Fault in our Stars, Love, Simon and The Hate U Give are some great exceptions, but the rest of them are just unnecessary cash grabs and bland sequels. To continue this never-ending trend, Hollywood has now decided to release Five Feet Apart as another flick made for hardcore YA novel and romantic drama fans. Directed by Justin Baldoni, you can definitely feel his passion of wanting to bring this premise to life, even if the film itself isn’t all that memorable.
Based on a novel with the same title, the story follows a girl named Stella (Haley Lu Richardson), who is diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, and she eventually meets another patient named Will (Cole Sprouse) at her hospital. As they’re getting to know each other, they gradually start to fall in love. However, they must maintain a distance of at least five feet from each other to avoid becoming even more sick. It’s a sweet and heartwarming premise, but the execution can sometimes be dull and filled with clichés.
Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse are really good in their roles and their acting is great. However, they lack chemistry with one another in the beginning and it doesn’t seem like they are in love for the first half of the film. You can see the actors trying their best to make the romance the most important and interesting aspect of their characters, yet it’s not all that developed. If you don’t care about their relationship from the moment it’s being established, the movie becomes a little boring. The second half is actually quite good, but the problem is that the first and second act drag the pacing so much that they compromise the finale.
Also, it’s pretty predictable. From start to finish, it’s filled with so many clichés that you probably have seen many times before in other romantic movies. Even though it has some heartwarming moments, they’re not that memorable, because you’re able to see them coming right from the get-go. You’ll always be able to tell what’s going to happen next, and that can be irritating. Sometimes, characters tend to do some really stupid things that make you roll your eyes. You question some of their actions, because their intention for doing them isn’t all that compelling. The film is undeniably cheesy, but that’s not a good enough reason for some scenes to not make a lot of sense.
Five Feet Apart could have been another The Fault in Our Stars, but unfortunately it’s just uninspired and forgettable. It’s not the worst YA novel adaptation out there, but as a romantic drama, it doesn’t quite get the job done. Even if the two lead actors bring out some great performances, the bummer is that they don’t really show a lot of chemistry with each other. The movie has some enjoyment in it, but the biggest tragedy it commits is that it’s not a good film to sit through.
Five Feet Apart is now playing in theatres.