The film partnered with Claire's Place Foundation; A charity to emotionally and financially support families struggling with Cystic Fibrosis. Both actors and director worked closely to assure accuracy with the depiction of cystic fibrosis in the film. See more »
Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) is a teenager that spends most of her time in the hospital as a cystic fibrosis patient. Her life is full of routines and she has got everything figured out until she meets Will (Cole Sprouse), another teen with the same terminal and chronic illness. Flirtation quickly turns into broken rules with potentially deadly consequences.
Our Take: If you're in the mood for a good cry in a dark theater, it's a good watch; but it will be just as good when it is on Netflix and can be watched in the comfort of your home with your favorite stuffed animal and a box of Kleenex.
Post-Credit Scene: Nope, you can run to the bathroom as soon as they start rolling.
Let us guess: you loved The Fault in Our Stars. So are you in the mood for another sick kids movie? Well, this checks all the boxes. There are kids. The kids are sick. Plus, it tugs on all the appropriate heartstrings. But if you look beyond the trope, what is there?
Here, there's actually a lot to unpack.
This was the directorial debut for Justin Baldoni (of Jane the Virgin fame) and he did a decent job putting the movie together. The cast was the right mix of a popular teenage heartthrob, a kid you remember from some show you used to watch, and a talented girl next door. There's an appropriate amount of chemistry between Richardson and Sprouse. The soundtrack assembled every indie rock song that mentioned medicine or illness, but it was employed in a very tasteful manner. There were a few moments of questionable shakey cam footage that made watching difficult. There was a scene that was purposefully dragged out for the purpose of making the audience uncomfortable in a completely unnecessary way. The dialogue was a bit weak at times, but for characters that you knew had an impending expiration date, they were all fairly well developed. It wasn't perfect, but in the grand scheme of sick kid movies, it certainly ranks and in some ways, set itself apart.
Unlike similar films of the past (A Walk to Remember, The Fault in Our Stars, and Everything Everything to name a few) this one wasn't based on a book (plot twist: there's a book based on it). It is also set primarily at the hospital and over a fairly short period of time, which tightened the narrative in a strange and at times off-putting way that other films have managed to escape. The film stayed fairly true to treatment mechanisms that are available to those with cystic fibrosis thanks to its consultant, the late Claire Wineland, though it fell into the same controversy its predecessors have by casting able-bodied individuals to play diseased and disabled characters. Some have called the film disease-appropriation, but as two people who don't have cystic fibrosis, this film did bring our attention to a disease we'd never heard of. It's not our place to say whether this newfound awareness is good, but we do hope that it has a positive impact by showing a snippet of what some people with CF deal with.
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