The new teenage romance film Five Feet Apart tells the fictional story of two smitten cystic fibrosis patients who can never touch - but some real-life patients say the movie is inaccurate and even dangerous
Much of the cystic fibrosis community is recoiling and speaking out against Five Feet Apart, the new film, hitting theaters Friday, about two smitten teenagers with the condition.
The filmmakers behind Five Feet Apart worked with a cystic fibrosis foundation and interviewed people living with the incurable genetic condition in preparation for the film, but some say its portrayal is dangerous and inaccurate.
Portions of the community are also slamming social media influences and companies who posted comparisons of the movie's characters who are too sick to touch other people to the 'hardship' of long distance relationships.
And amid the controversy is a bitter irony. Many cystic fibrosis patients can't go see Five Feet Apart for the same reason the two main characters must keep a safe distance: Another moviegoer's mild infection could be deadly to them.
Some 70,000 people worldwide are living with cystic fibrosis, a rare genetic disorder that makes mucus that should be thin and slick become sticky, clogging the lungs, damaging organs, and leaving them vulnerable to infections that can prove deadly for them.
People with the condition have an average life expectancy of about 40, and most will die without a lung transplant.
The movie takes its name from a rule that CF patients like its main characters Will (left, played Cole Sprouse) and Stella (right, played by Haley Lu Richardson) by must remain six feet apart at all times - not five, one of several inaccuracies pointed out by CF patients and bloggers
Five Feet Apart is a fictional portrayal of two teenagers, Stella and Will (played by Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse, respectively), with cystic fibrosis (CF).
The actors have garnered praise for thoughtful portrayals of patients with CF, and for keeping the focus of media events for the film on the condition.
Though certainly there's been gratitude from the CF community that the film will (hopefully) raise awareness of the disease and drive support to research and advocacy groups, a number of rather fundamental flaws have been raised, too.
For starters, the title.
'Five feet apart' is a reference to the distance people with CF are supposed to keep between themselves and others with the disease or another infection because CF patients are especially vulnerable to infections which can fatally intensify their condition.
Only, the rule is actually