Five Feet Apart Ending Explained & Plot Analysis

Risk, hope, self-sacrifice and other ideas from the film Five Feet Apart (2019): film plot summary, description of the ending, explanation of the meaning, similar films.

Country: USA

Genre: Drama, melodrama

Year of production: 2019

Director: Justin Baldoni

Actors: Haley Lu Richardson, Cole Sprouse, Moises Arias, Kimberly Hebert Gregory

Slogan: “When Life Keeps You Apart, Fight For Every Inch”

Awards and nominations: Won 2019 Favorite Drama Actor (Cole Sprouse) at the People’s Choice Awards.

In 2019, the melodrama “Five Feet Apart”, the debut of director Justin Baldoni, was released worldwide, which more accurately reflects the essence of the film in comparison with its official adapted Russian-language title.

The drama is based on the book of the same name by writer Rachel Lippincott, created together with screenwriters Mickey Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis, who later took part in the work on the film. An analysis of the content of the film “Five Feet Apart” will help you understand the meaning and ideas of the director, as well as find an explanation for the ending of the drama.

What is the movie about

The plot of the drama “Five Feet Apart” takes place in a hospital for patients with cystic fibrosis (cystic fibrosis). Stella Grant, the main character of the film and book, writes a video blog to tell people about her disease and how to live and fight it. From the content of her videos, it becomes clear that patients should keep a distance of six feet from other patients, since due to weakened immunity they can become infected with someone else’s infection and put their lives in danger. In addition, Stella has been diagnosed with OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), due to which she strives to maintain order in everything that surrounds her.

Haley Lu Richardson of Five Feet Apart
Haley Lu Richardson played the role of Stella Grant. Still from the film Five Feet Apart

At the beginning of the film, Stella once again finds herself in a hospital, where she is well acquainted with the staff and other patients, to undergo a course of treatment. Among the patients is her friend Poe, a guy who, like her, has been struggling with the disease for many years.

The girl meets a new patient – Will Newman. He behaves provocatively and violates local rules, and therefore Stella does not like him. Nurse Barb warns her that the guy has a bacterial infection for which there is no cure and for which a lung transplant is contraindicated, since the patient is likely to die. Because of this, she asks the girl to stay away from him.

The girl finds out that Will does not want to be treated because he does not see the point in it. She turns to him and explains that he was lucky to get into the hospital, and therefore, if he does not need treatment, he can leave and give way to another person.

The next day, Stella visits the guy in the ward and sees that he is a mess, and he does not follow the treatment regimen. The girl runs away in horror. Will finds her and demands an explanation. It turns out that the hidden meaning of Stella’s behavior is that because of her OCD, she needs everything to be in its place, and since she knows that he does not comply with treatment, it throws her off balance. The teenagers make a deal: Will will start taking medications and undergoing procedures, and Stella will pose for him (the guy is good at drawing).

Stella cleans up Will’s room. After a couple of days, she notices that the guy is violating the conditions and invites him to undergo treatment together. At first, they carry out procedures via video link, but then switch to live communication, causing displeasure among the medical staff. One day, a girl poses for a guy, and Will paints her portrait.

Further in the plot of the film “Five Feet Apart,” Will sends Stella a portrait of her in the form of a cartoon. During a video conversation, he notices a drawing behind the girl and asks who its author is. After learning that Abby (Stella’s older sister) drew him, he asks to see other drawings, but Stella refuses. Will later learns that Abby has died.

Cole Sprouse of Five Feet Apart
Will Newman is played by Cole Sprouse. Still from the film Five Feet Apart

Stella will have surgery. Will comes into the room to support her. Barb discovers him, reprimands him, and explains that she once allowed two patients who were in love to spend time together. As a result, they died on her shift, and she will not allow this to happen again.

Stella’s operation is successful. Will at this time studies his illness and from its description understands that he is doomed. Stella calls him, but he doesn’t answer.

Stella asks Will out on a date in the hall, but Poe appears and says the guy won’t come. The girl goes to Will and finds out that he does not want to risk putting himself and her in danger. Poe comes to console Stella, but the girl is rude to him. Friends quarrel, but soon make up.

Stella posts a new video talking about Will’s illness and explaining that people with cystic fibrosis need to stay 6 feet apart. She then shows a pool cue and tells him that it is 5 feet long. The girl announces that she will break the rules and steal one foot from the disease, which will allow her to be closer to her loved one. She then goes to Will and suggests spending time together, keeping cue distance from each other.

Will and Stella go on a date. The guy says that he will turn 18 the next day. Stella tells the story of her sister’s death and admits that she blames herself for her death, since she should have been with her, but could not due to the exacerbation of the disease.

The next day, Poe, Stella and the girl’s and Will’s friends arrange a surprise for the guy: they secretly set a festive table in the cafeteria after closing. The company is having fun, but the celebration is interrupted by Barb, who notices the absence of patients. Angry, she promises to transfer Will to another department in the morning.

Five Feet Apart Ending explained

At the end of the film “Five Feet Apart”, a tragedy occurs at night after the interrupted celebration: Poe dies. Stella takes his death hard. Together with Will, she escapes from the hospital to look at the city lights. Stella has memories associated with them: she and her sister loved to look at them and make wishes. Stella and Will take a long walk and then go ice skating on the lake.

The hospital learns about an accident in which a woman died. Her lungs are suitable for Stella, so the staff need to prepare the girl for surgery, but they cannot find her. Barb writes a message to Stella, the girl reads it and ignores it in order to spend more time with Will. She then tries to kiss the guy, but he stops her, reminding her of the danger.

Parents of teenagers come to the hospital. Will’s mother, having learned about the meaning of what is happening, sends her son a message. Will, having read that a donor has been found for Stella, begs the girl to return to the doctors, but she refuses and then falls through the ice. The guy saves her and pulls her out of the water unconscious. After hesitation due to fears of infecting the girl, he performs artificial respiration on her. Stella comes to her senses and Will calls 911.

At the hospital, Will convinces Stella to agree to the operation, and then tells Barb and the attending physician that he performed artificial respiration on the girl, risking infecting her. They answer him that he did the right thing, because by doing so he saved her life.

Moises Arias of Five Feet Apart
Moises Arias as Poe. Still from the film Five Feet Apart

The girl’s lung transplant operation is successful. Barb tells Will that emergency tests showed that Stella was not infected, but there is no guarantee that this will not happen in the future. It further becomes known that Will’s treatment did not produce any results.

The guy understands that his stay in the hospital and the continuation of his relationship with Stella is dangerous for both of them. The point of the ending of Five Feet Apart is that he decides to leave even though he loves her. Will asks for help from friends, parents and medical staff to arrange a farewell gift for the girl.

Stella wakes up surrounded by medical staff and her parents, who congratulate her on her successful surgery and announce that they have a surprise for her. Stella is talking via video to Will. The guy reports that his treatment is not working and thanks him for the month he spent. He then regrets that she couldn’t see the city lights on their walk. The lights in the room are dimmed, and the girl sees many Christmas lights outside the window.

At the end of the film “Five Feet Apart” the guy approaches the glass wall of the room and calls Stella. He tells her that he loves her, but must let her go in order to save her. He asks the girl to close her eyes, because otherwise he will not be able to leave. Crying Stella fulfills the request. Opening her eyes after a while, she sees that Will is no longer there. Her parents give her the guy’s album with cartoon drawings, among which is a real portrait.

At the end of the film, Stella posts a new video on her blog. In it, she talks about the importance of touch and invites everyone to touch and hug a loved one while they can.

the importance of touch of Five Feet Apart
Still from the film Five Feet Apart

The meaning of the film Five Feet Apart

The meaning of the drama “Five Feet Apart” is quite simple and does not have a variety of interpretations. This is a sentimental story of first teenage love, complicated by the illness of the main characters Stella and Will, because of which they are forced to maintain distance. Throughout the film, they risk their health and lives and constantly restrain themselves so as not to touch each other. Although Stella initially seems more organized and correct, in the end Will acts like a sane person, leaving the girl so as not to accidentally infect her or harm her. This is the key to his actions when he leaves Stella in the end and leaves the hospital.

The ending of the drama “Five Feet Apart” is open. We don’t know if Will will survive, but most likely not, because the chances of recovery are minimal. Cole Sparks, who plays the role, stated in an interview that several different endings were filmed, but he did not give a final answer about the fate of the character, leaving everyone the opportunity to form their own opinion about his fate.

In the film “Five Feet Apart,” the director, screenwriters and actors tried to talk in as much detail as possible about cystic fibrosis, explain how people with such a diagnosis feel and draw attention and support to them. To do this, they worked closely with a charity to help terminally ill patients with cystic fibrosis.

There is an opinion that explains that the director allows the audience to think about how to act correctly in the situation in which his characters find themselves: devote the remaining time to treatment, like Stella, or try to live the rest of their days to the fullest, as Will does.

Another version says that using the example of heroes and, in particular, Poe, Justin Baldoni suggests thinking about how a terminally ill person should behave: should he create and maintain relationships, or is it better not to torture those he loves, allowing them live a normal life without burdening yourself with self-care.

The film “Five Feet Apart” deserves attention and will appeal to fans of the genre. Viewers themselves can also find in it an additional hidden meaning reflected by the director in the film and take something out of it for themselves.

patients with an incurable disease

Similar films

  • “The Fault in Our Stars” (USA, 2014). A love story between teenagers who met at a cancer support group.
  • “Hurry to Love” (USA, 2002). A handsome man and the leader of the school falls in love with a quiet and plain-looking girl, but they have very little time allotted for their relationship.
  • “Now is the time” (UK, France, USA, 2012). A girl with an incurable disease devotes the rest of her life to fulfilling her desires and accidentally falls in love.
  • “The Whale” (USA, 2008). A seventeen-year-old high school student meets and falls in love with a new student with a terminal illness.
  • “This Whole World” (USA, 2017). The story of the relationship between a girl who, due to a genetic disease, cannot leave her home, and her friend who lives next door.
  • “Sweet November” (USA, 2001). Advertising agent Nelson Moss meets the eccentric Sarah Deaver, who quickly turns his world upside down.
  • “PS I love you” (USA, 2007). Holly cannot come to terms with her husband’s death, but soon begins to receive letters from him that will help her move on with her life.
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