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Film / Five Feet Apart

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"Let me guess. You’re the kind of guy that ignores the rules because it makes you feel in control. Am I right?"

Five Feet Apart is a 2019 American romantic drama film directed by Justin Baldoni and written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis. The film stars Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson as two teenagers suffering from cystic fibrosis who fall in love, but are hindered by always being required to keep a certain distance away from each other to prevent infection.

Tropes associated with Five Feet Apart:

  • Berserker Tears: Stella cries in rage after Poe dies.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While the film does end with Stella's lung transplant succeeding, Will creating a notebook of his drawings for Stella and setting up a light display for her, and Stella sharing a heartwarming blog with the audience telling them to embrace their loved ones as much as they can, there's still the fact that Poe's dead, Will is going to die eventually, and the film leaves Stella's future ambiguous. In fact, the bitterness seems to outweigh the happiness, which is why it can still be seen as a Downer Ending, but the film still leaves on a rather heartwarming note above all the tragedy.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Poe is Latino, and the only character to die.
  • Bury Your Gays: The only named gay character dies as soon as he decides to commit to his relationship.
  • Control Freak: Stella. Justified, as she craves control over her life and being responsible helps keep her alive.
  • Covered with Scars: Both the leads are, from past surgeries.
  • Crying Wolf: Poe frequently presses his call button as a prank. When he actually needs it, the nurse doesn't hurry to him, and he dies.
  • Danger — Thin Ice: Stella falls through the ice while she and Will are arguing.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Though they affirm their love, Will leaves Stella in the end, and due to their illnesses they're not even able to physically share their love except for a brief Kiss of Life.
  • Disappeared Dad: Will's father abandoned him when he was a baby, because having a child with serious medical problems wasn't part of his plan, according to Will.
  • Downer Ending: The final scene of the movie is heartbreaking. Will tells Stella that his drug trial isn't working, and he doesn't want Stella to have to deal with him dying. Will tells her to close her eyes, because he won't be able to leave if she's looking at him. She does and he walks away.
  • Dying Alone: Stella's sister died when cliff-jumping alone, and Stella is haunted by the fact she wasn't there for her.
  • Gay Best Friend: Poe is this to Stella. He has a boyfriend, but they're never seen together (the guy doesn't even appear), unlike Stella with Will. Basically his entire role is him being a funny gay guy (at least until he dies).
  • Hope Spot: Right after Poe talks about getting back together with his ex and letting love into his life, he dies.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Will tells Stella in the end about the importance of letting go of what you love, and that he doesn't want to hurt her by making her watch him die or accidentally infecting her.
  • Kiss of Life: Will administers this to Stella after she falls through ice, and it works. Subverted in that the action is less romantic than it is full of dire consequences with the risk of infection.
  • Meaningful Echo: Stella repeats Will's words about living life to the fullest to convince him to go see the lights with her.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Will thinks Poe and Stella are in a relationship when he first meets the former, before Poe tells him that he's gay.
  • Mood Whiplash: Stella, Will and Poe have a great dinner together with all their friends after Stella sets up a game for Will. Poe dies shortly after.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: After Poe dies, Stella laments that she never even got to hug him, despite him being her best friend.
  • Opposites Attract: Strait-laced rule-abiding Stella is attracted to the rebellious, risk-taking Will.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: It's been compared a lot to The Fault in Our Stars, but with cystic fibrosis instead of cancer. It's just as poignant, too.
  • Spiritual Successor: Has similarities to The Fault in Our Stars.
  • Survivor's Guilt: Stella expresses this over her sister's death, since she's the one with a serious disease which will probably kill her eventually. Her sister, though healthy, died in a cliff-diving accident. Stella very strictly abides by her treatments since, saying her parents can't lose another child (at least delaying it as long as is possible) and that she should have died rather than her sister.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Will, which is what attracts Stella to him, against her initial disdain.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Poe is a gay Latino young man.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Downplayed with Nurse Barb. While she's good at her job and does try her best to take care of Stella, there's still the fact that she deliberately broke the rules causing the death of two other teens with CF a while back, as she admitted to Will later on in the movie. For some reason, she still obviously has her job to this day, and we don't find out if there were any lawsuits involved or if she got into major trouble from the incident. It's possible this was secret, and no one else knows.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: Stella, who strictly abides by her prescribed medical treatments, feeling a duty to her family, eventually falls for Will (who often flouts them, in spite of his mom's worry), although after having him take better care of himself.
  • Wham Line: When Barb reveals that Will's drug trial isn't working.