If The Fault in Our Stars was your kind of movie, then grab a box of tissues and prepare for Five Feet Apart.

This film tells the story of two teenagers living with cystic fibrosis; who meet in hospital and fall in love, but can't touch or be close to each other. Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disorder which affects the lungs and digestive system, and those suffering from it must be kept apart – in this case five feet apart - to reduce the risk of cross infection.

Haley Lu Richardson is Stella, an obsessive compulsive 17-year-old who rigorously follows her treatment routine; and Cole Sprouse is Will, a rebellious young man who wants to make the most of the time he has left. It's the good-girl-falls-for-bad-boy routine we've seen many times before, but set in hospital rather than high school.

This story's appeal for young adults lies with its stars. Richardson and Sprouse are delightful and go a long way to holding together this slightly drawn out romantic drama; their chemistry covering much of the clichés and predictability.


There has been controversy over medical inaccuracies and concern and about the sensitive subject matter, but it's important to remember this is a movie - a romance with a difference. It is worth noting though that treatment in New Zealand differs from what's portrayed here.

Though a glossy, romantic drama aimed at a youth audience may not be the most realistic way to capture the cystic fibrosis experience; it does create awareness and understanding of cystic fibrosis. That's a good thing. But for real, moving and inspiring New Zealand stories, take a look at at cfnz.rog.nz.


Haley Lu Richardson, Cole Sprouse


Justin Baldoni

Running Time:

116 mins



M (Offensive Language)


Predictable teen romantic drama with an edge.