Five Feet Apart
Starring Haley Lu Richardson, Cole Sprouse
Directed by Justin Baldoni
Rating: * ½(1 and a half stars)
Milking illness for tears is an epidemic obsession in cinema. Filmmakers keep coming up with esoteric diseases to justify a maelstrom of melodramatic manoeuvres . Years ago Mahesh Bhatt’s Kaash had an estranged couple Jackie Shroff and Dimple Kapadia, coming together when their son is fatally ill.
Sob sob sniff sniff.
Five Feet Apart has enough schmaltz in it to feed five long-running seasons of General Hospital. The young callow protagonists Stella and Will, played by Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse are critically unwell hospital patients. This gives the script a chance to skip and hop around the corridors of a hospital that looks like a playschool for kindergarten where the favourite game is ‘Doctor Doctor’. Or more like ‘Nurse Nurse’ since we hardly see any doctors except one Dr Hamid played with seemingly suppressed giggles by Parminder Nagra (Gurinder Chaddha’s Bend It Like Beckham heroine).
Oh one of the nurses is played Emily Baldoni by the director Justin Baldoni’s wife.She looks like she dropped in with her husband’s lunch on the set and decided to stay on for the heck of it.
The lead players are at best, amateurs thrown into a medically motivated romance that requires them to question the entire meaning of life and the possibility of afterlife when all they would rather do is hang out together in clubs and bowling alleys.
Not a single moment in this soppy sloppy presentation melts hearts or moves anything except your restless bums from your seats. It all looks like a mushy Mills & Boon version of the 2014 medical mush romance The Fault In Our Stars which had some moments that were genuinely touching.
It is ironical that a film which espouses the human touch as being more important than breathing doesn’t have a single touching moment, not even the death of a jovial gay friend Poe who just collapses in his room suddenly(quite like the non-existent script of this film) never to wake up again.
We wish Poe all the best, and better entertainment in heaven.