In a world where nearly everything on television presents a false reality, movies are no different.
Within each one, individuals can find biases, illusions, and other elements of Hollywood intended to grasp the audience’s attention. However, many people firmly believe that if viewers can clear this clouded lense, there is a multitude of lessons we can learn from a single movie. The single film that taught many people these lessons is titled “Five Feet Apart.” Essentially, it documents the story of two star-crossed lovers who are both battling one of the most tragic and cruel diseases, Cystic Fibrosis (CF). According to Samantha Mitchel, a movie critique writer at SolidEssay and Theory of Knowledge Essays. This movie, although not entirely an accurate representation of the disease, has such a great impact because of its focus on the relationship dynamics between CF patients as well as the relationship that patients have with themselves.
To begin, “Five Feet Apart” introduces the idea that all of the love and support each CF patient can receive must be at a distance, hence the significance of the title. In other words, all Cystic Fibrosis patients are required to maintain a distance of at least six feet with other CF patients in order to prevent the transmission of bacteria. Their immune system is compromised due to the overproduction of mucus in their body – primarily in their lungs – so any bacteria or virus contracted can be deadly. With many other life threatening conditions, such as cancer, addiction, and genetic mutations, there are always people who either are affected themselves or feel sympathetic towards the situation of those affected.
These people and patients can connect and encourage one another through support groups, camps, and charity work. However, the nature of CF prevents those suffering from interacting with anyone who can truly understand how they feel. Stella and Will, the teenage CF patients focused upon, live months in the hospital to complete experimental trials for a potential new treatment, and initially, their only contact is online. This is the unfortunate reality for those battling Cystic Fibrosis. “The only people that can truly relate to them, understand their feelings, and provide meaningful support are the ones that cannot be present with them,” opines Jill Trenton, a lifestyle writer at BeeStudent and Paper-Research.
In addition to the lack of physical intimacy with their support system, the struggle of CF far beyond exceeds the physical limitations. “Five Feet Apart” provided an accurate understanding of the mental struggle within oneself that each CF patient faces. In the movie, Will fails to regularly take his treatments, which causes conflict between him and Stella. She views each day as a gift, whereas Will would rather end the pain as soon as possible. Essentially, they live every day in hopes of receiving a lung transplant, but until then, they are fated to die at a young age. Will cannot handle the pain of seeing all of his CF friends pass on, both of his lungs lose function, and no cure available for his condition. There seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for him. Fortunately, Stella helps him find this light, but many Cystic Fibrosis patients are alone. They may have family and friends outside of the CF world, but these people do not understand what it is like to dedicate each day to treatments in order to stay alive, to spend months in the hospital when their condition worsens, or to simply miss out on the regular everyday life that is taken for granted, like school essays, work, and dating, because their health prohibits them. Their mind is fully functional, but their body is not, and this disconnect is mentally devastating. Therefore, unless they are a super mentally strong individual, like Stella, they struggle for self-acceptance.
As can be seen, “Five Feet Apart” was a highly informative and impactful film. Many people are not aware of the severity and rarity of Cystic Fibrosis, nor how desperately this world needs to find a treatment. Thankfully, the power of such a film allows for great awareness to be spread across the globe so that everyone can feel inclined to do the same. These people deserve to live a long, happy life that excludes prolonged daily treatments, isolation, and increased vulnerability to infection and disease. These people deserve to really live.