#SheReviews Five Feet Apart

March 27, 2019

When I hear of a disease, yet know little of it, I realise it’s time to find out more. The recent screening of Roadshow Films, “Five Feet Apart” prompted me to do this.

I attended on behalf of She Society and most people in the audience were wiping away the tears and blowing their nose, others like myself said they had difficulty holding it together. If I was home, I would be blowing my nose too.

The move focuses on the disease, cystic fibrosis. Its powerful message pained my heart and dented my soul.  

Did you know

“Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common life-shortening chronic genetic disorder among Caucasians and young Australians today. It primarily affects the respiratory system (lungs), the digestive system (pancreas and sometimes liver) and the reproductive system.
When a person has CF, their mucus glands secrete very thick sticky mucus. In the lungs, the mucus clogs the tiny air passages and traps bacteria. Repeated infections and blockages can cause irreversible lung damage and a shortened life. The pancreas is also affected which leads to difficulty with digesting fats and absorbing some nutrients.

In Australia, one in 25 people are carriers of the CF gene. Carriers of the CF gene do not have any symptoms of the condition. If two people carry the gene and have a child, each pregnancy will have:

  • a one-in-four chance that the child will have CF
  • a two-in-four chance that the child will not have CF, but will carry the gene
  • a one-in-four chance that the child will not have CF and will not be a carrier.

One in every 2,500 births produces a child with CF. Approximately 3,000 people in Australia have CF.

The movie

Teenager Stella, played by Hayley Lu Richardson, for the most part of her 17-year-old life, lives at the hospital as a cystic fibrosis patient. She has disciplined herself into the immense routine of medication, exercise and diet in the hope one day she will live long enough to be a recipient of a lung transplant. In the meanwhile, she forms close friendships with other young people in her CF ward. One friend in particular, Will, actor Cole Sprouse, charms and tests Stella and over time they begin a strong powerful connection.

The challenge for them both, and other patients, is the mandatory safe distance rules to avoid cross contamination and to prevent further infecting each other with additional life threatening germs. Germs can spread as far as six feet through droplets released in the air when people cough or sneeze. Touching is off-limits, no cuddles, no physical contact at all and this is where the story begins to pull on the audience’s heart strings.

It is about the power of young love, romance, coping with enormous restrictions, dealing with a disease that offers a limited life span, the fear of potential death, temptations to be reckless, consequences from breaking rules, human organ donations, lung transplants, and basic human needs.

Directed by Justin Baldoni, also an actor and social entrepreneur whose focus is creating and effecting positive change. Written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Laconis, they craftily create this beautiful story successfully anticipating our reactions.  

There are times as I watch a movie, I am also awakened. I become introspective and consider circumstances that otherwise I may have overlooked. This was one of those films and although it is an emotional heart wrenching story, it is also inspirational.

Due for release in Australian cinemas 28th March 2019, I highly recommend you take some tissues.

Reference:https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/cystic-fibrosis-cf

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