Touching film about teens with cystic fibrosis released to rental outlets this week

CBS Films

Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse in “Five Feet Apart.”

Films detailing those who are fighting battles with one sickness or another have been bringing a dose of reality into entertainment for years.

“Five Feet Apart,“ a film about two teens struggling with Cystic Fibrosis, is the most recent one to join such iconic films as “A Walk to Remember” where a young high school lady marries her boyfriend before she dies of cancer, and “The Notebook” where an elderly gentleman remembers his life with his wife, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s.

According to the film’s website, Stella Grant (Haley Lu Richardson, “The Edge of Seventeen” and “Split”) is every bit a 17-year-old. She’s attached to her laptop and loves her best friends. But unlike most teenagers, she spends much of her time living in a hospital as a cystic fibrosis patient.

Her life is full of routines, boundaries and self-control – all of which is put to the test when she meets an impossibly charming fellow patient named Will Newman (Cole Sprouse, “Riverdale” and “Big Daddy”). There’s an instant flirtation, though restrictions dictate that 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, according to the website. Further complicating matters is Will’s potentially dangerous rebellion against his ongoing medical treatment. Stella gradually inspires Will to live life to the fullest, but can she ultimately save the person she loves when even a single touch is off limits?

On the online movie aggregate website, Rotten Tomatoes, the film has just a 54 percent approval rating from critics with the Critics Consensus stating, “Elevated considerably by Haley Lu Richardson’s performance but bogged down by cliches, (the film) doesn’t tug at the heartstrings quite as deftly as it should.”

But audiences seemed to disagree with critics, giving the film a score of 79 percent.

Directed by Justin Baldoni, the film is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, language and suggestive material.

Other films released to rental outlets this week include:

n “The Professor and the Madman,” directed by Farhad Safinia and staring Mel Gibson, Sean Penn, Natalie Dormer and Stephen Dillane. This true story recounts the compilation of the Oxford Dictionary in 1857, as begun by a professor and his team. But to the amazement, one of the largest contributors was an American Civil War veteran in an asylum who had added over ten thousand words.

The film is rated TVMA.

n “Captive State,” directed by Rupert Wyatt and staring John Goodman, Ashton Sanders, Jonathan Majors and Vera Farmiga. A Chicago police officer combats an alien occupation’s false rhetoric of peaceful coexistence in a dystopic future by recruiting formidable individuals and forming Phoenix: an armed rebel group that aims to unite a once divided humanity against its common foe.

This film is rated PG-13 for drug use/content, language, sexuality and violence.

The synopsis for each of these films was taken from

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