This love story requires some suspension of disbelief, but its charming stars and and tear-jerking romance will appeal to fans of The Fault in Our Stars. That doesn't mean audiences should expect as much heartbreak as in FiOS, but the "dying teenagers sharing an intense first love" is definitely a theme of Five Feet Apart, too. Richardson in particular is very talented, and she and Sprouse have just enough spark to make it work, although Stella and Will's romance isn't as swoon-worthy as Hazel Grace and Gus' or as adventurous as Maddy and Olly's. After all, Stella and Will can not, must not touch, so their relationship is limited to conversations and endless longing looks. For some inexplicable reason, their parents are rarely on the hospital floor (in sharp contrast to similar films in which parents sit vigil day after day), and the teens interact mostly with kind, maternal Nurse Barb (Kimberly Hebert Gregory). And Moises Arias stands out as Poe, Stella's hospital bestie and fellow CF patient. Poe supports the idea of Stella, who apparently also has OCD, "dating" Will, even though it puts her at great risk of losing her transplant eligibility.
Because the movie is almost wholly set in the hospital, the plot sometimes feels slow and predictable, and the teens' level of access to all parts of the facility seem far-fetched, considering that such a large hospital would definitely have more attentive security. And the fact that the teens somehow throw a Pinterest-level dinner party is flat-out unbelievable (even with the reason provided). Still, the story will undeniably tug at viewers' heartstrings, and given Sprouse's popularity (thanks to Riverdale), there's surely an eager fan base ready to see him fall in love, no matter how sad the circumstances.