Something I’ve been seeing more and more is the adaptation of books. We all know of books that were adapted for the screen: Harry Potter, The Fault in Our Stars, Pretty Little Liars. Everything being produced nowadays seems to have sort of other source material. It’s almost getting out of hand, but that doesn’t stop me from seeing the movie/watching the show/reading the books.Something that is more unconventional is the novelizations of films. Sometimes you will see a book come out that is a original story of an already established character. For example, there are a few different books set in the Stranger Things universe, as well as a full series of books based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
However, with Five Feet Apart, the screenplay and the book were written together—the movie wrapped filming a few months before the release of the book. I think people are seeing how popular film adaptations are getting—last year alone brought us Love, Simon and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. They’re deciding to bypass all that excess time and creating a movie and a book, at the same time—appealing to book people and movie people at the same time.
First, can we just take a look at that cover?!? Breathtaking! Okay, now the plot: Five Feet Apart follows the blossoming love between two teens, Will and Stella, who just so happen to both have cystic fibrosis. Meaning they must stay at least six feet apart from each other at all times so they don’t catch an infection from the other person—no touching. Stella needs to be in control of everything when it comes to her treatments to prevent nothing from going wrong. Will is the exact opposite—choosing to live life recklessly because he knows he doesn’t have much time left. These two learn from each other in a really beautiful way as they slowly start to fall in love.
The story takes place almost entirely in a hospital where our main characters are being treated—Will with a new clinical drug trial, and Stella for a “tune up.” Done in dual perspectives gives the readers a nice contrast between how the characters deal with their diagnosis.
While the story is pretty predictable and riddled with cliches, whether it was about Stella’s sister Abby, or her best friend Poe, this was a really great, well-written novel. There was no glorifying of their illness and it’s the perfect sweet and heartbreaking romance for people who are fans of indulging in a good cry.
Okay, so I have never been a big fan of the Sprouse twins. They lived down the street from me in grade school and they were always so loud and kind of annoying. However, I changed my tune once I started watching Riverdale and realized how good Cole is, especially at the dark and broody type. Haley Lu Richardson, I had seen in a few indie roles and always thought she was great. I think the two of them really held this movie together. They had great chemistry and nothing felt fake or corny.
The book and the movie were pretty identical except for a few scenes and, of course, you don’t get any inner thoughts and feelings on screen. It also seems like key information that makes the stakes a little higher with tension are omitted from the story: Poe’s backstory, the true story of Nurse Barb’s CF patients, parental figures, and most drastically, incessant talk about Stella’s sister Abby. You can’t put everything in a movie, there’s simply not enough time and our main focus is supposed to be on Will and Stella.
The biggest difference between book and film was the ending. In the book ending, we get a time jump that leaves the story open ended in a really hopeful way. I’m pretty sure they filmed the original ending because one of the other movie posters to advertise the film looks to be a screenshot from that scene. They must have had to cut it for time constraints.
When I first heard about this book/movie I was a little skeptical, but I knew I would read/see it anyway because I’m a predictable bitch. Here’s the thing though, I can’t comment on how well they portray CF, or anything having to do with CF, but I do know what it’s like to live with chronic illness. I think they showed the frustrations and anger that comes along with being sick in a compelling and true way. One thing that makes me feel better about this book/movie is how they included the Cystic Fibrosis community. The movie aligned with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for fundraising efforts and Claire Wineland, Youtuber and massive advocate for CF, was a consultant on the movie—she unfortunately passed away just a week after receiving a lung transplant. Everyone is going to have a different view on what they got wrong or what they got right because every person going through with an illness has their own unique experience. I do think that involving outside sources and gathering as much information you can is all you can do when dealing with such serious subjects.
What did you think? Have you seen the movie, or read the book?