Five Feet Apart | Chicago Reader
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Five Feet Apart

Clearly inspired by The Fault in Our Stars and the late Claire Wineland’s YouTube videos, this romantic drama revolves around two 17-year-olds with cystic fibrosis. The girl (Haley Lu Richardson), who makes cheery videos to educate the public about CF, finds comfort in list-making and routines. The boy (Cole Sprouse, Gen Z’s answer to Leonardo DiCaprio) is a jaded rule breaker. They find themselves in the same hospital while the boy participates in a clinical drug trial. Because of their high risk of fatal infection-swapping, hospital rules dictate that the teens keep six feet between them at all times. Of course, they rebel. Director Justin Baldoni, working from a novel by Rachael Lippincott and drawing from his work on the digital documentary series My Last Days, imbues the hospital and its inhabitants with a lived-in feel that sometimes counteracts the predictable truisms, musical swells, and heartstring yanks. While mawkishness should not be a prerequisite for the sick-teens-in-love genre, the popularity of the two in concert has likely convinced many filmmakers that the opposite is true.



  • Justin Baldoni


  • Haley Lu Richardson
  • Cole Sprouse
  • Moisés Arias
  • Kimberly Herbert Gregory
  • Parminder Nagra
  • Claire Forlani
  • Emily Baldoni
  • Gary Weeks
  • Cynthia Evans


  • Mikki Daughtry
  • Tobias Iaconis


  • Cathy Schulman
  • Christopher H. Warner
  • Justin Baldoni

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