Five Feet Apart reviews: What do critics say about Cystic Fibrosis teen romance film?

Five Feet Apart tells the story of 17-year-old Stella who spends most of her time in the hospital as a cystic fibrosis patient living a life full of routines, boundaries and self-control – all of which get put to the test when she meets Will, an impossibly charming teen with the same illness. There’s an instant flirtation, though restrictions dictate they must maintain a safe distance between them. As their connection intensifies, so does the temptation to throw the rules out the window and embrace that attraction.

What do critics say about Five Feet Apart?

The movie, directed by Justin Baldoni, has a 53 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The critics’ consensus reads: “Elevated considerably by Haley Lu Richardson’s performance but bogged down by clichés, Five Feet Apart doesn’t tug at the heartstrings quite as deftly as it should.”

But despite the seemingly negative score, the reviews have leant more positively in content.

Emily Yoshida for New York Magazine/Vulture:

“Due credit… should be given to Sprouse and particularly Richardson for selling all of these reheated tropes to their full potential.”

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Cath Clarke forTime Out:

“…phoney emotions and baloney contrivances…”

Brian Lowry for CNN.com:

“Offers a solid showcase for its young leads, Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse, while labouring to flesh out a complete movie.”

Michael O’Sullivan for the Washington Post:

“Richardson may be the best thing about this Velveeta-slathered heap of lukewarm cliché, but she is merely a vicarious vehicle for thwarted teenage longing directed at the bad-boy dreamboat heartthrob of countless high-school-girl fantasies.”

Nell Minow for RogerEbert.com:

“It is tempting to dismiss this story as ‘sick-lit’ but director Justin Baldoni balances the compelling specifics of CF with the larger questions we all face.”

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Johnny Oleksinski for the New York Post:

“Sprouse and Richardson make for one of the more adorable pairs in recent films.

“You not only want what’s best for them but believe it can actually happen.”

Katie Walsh for the Los Angeles Times:

“Richardson can do just about anything, and her performance in Five Feet Apart demonstrates a new depth to her range.

“She brings a knowing soulfulness to every aspect of Stella’s journey.”

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Oliver Jones for the Observer:

“The honesty of the actors and their commitment to each other bails the movie out.

“They manage to find truth in a highly manipulative situation, and that’s something even the least stardust-sprinkled among us can appreciate.”

Chris Nashawaty for Entertainment Weekly:

“It’s just another three-hankie teen weepie, albeit one with the saving grace of another excellent Haley Lu Richardson performance that gooses the film just past serviceable into the realm of slightly better than average.”

Caryn James for the Hollywood Reporter:

“What starts as a promising film that takes the disease seriously and might even raise awareness about its challenges quickly turns into a romantic melodrama that checks all the familiar boxes.”

Five Feet Apart is out in cinemas on March 22, 2019.

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