“Five Feet Apart,” directed by Justin Baldoni, who many may recognize as Rafael from “Jane the Virgin,” was released in 2019. Stella Grant and William “Will” Newman, two young adults with cystic fibrosis who develop a close relationship while receiving treatment at the same hospital, star Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse. “Five Feet Apart” follows the couple as Stella encourages Will to follow the restrictions and stick to his treatment plan, while he teaches her how to enjoy life outside of being a patient.
The title alludes to the requirement that Stella and Will must constantly stay six feet apart in order to avoid contracting one other’s viruses or illnesses, which could severely compromise their immune systems. Except that the couple frequently defies the rules, gaining a foot and making their distance five feet instead. Stella and Will carry on with continual physical space between them, unable to touch each other for fear of harming themselves, as Stella begins to doubt whether she is truly living or merely going through the motions for therapy.
When Stella is offered the chance to receive the lung transplant she has been waiting for, everything the two have ever talked about is put to the test. But she pauses for a while, unsure if prolonging her life for a few years is worth it. So, what will she choose?
What happens to Stella and Will in the end?
Stella and Will are off on an adventure near the end of the film when a woman arrives at the hospital with a fatal injury. Her lungs are a great match for Stella’s, but she isn’t there when they go to inform her. Stella receives the call with the good news, but instead of being overjoyed, she feels deflated, questioning whether the transplant is even necessary. Thankfully, Will is present, and he encourages Stella to proceed with the lung transplant, arguing that she should spend whatever time she has left doing whatever she wants with whomever she wants.
The procedure goes smoothly, but Will receives some disappointing news. Will tells Stella that his drug trial isn’t working, admitting his love for her and saying farewell via a glass separating them. Will can’t risk infecting Stella with her new lungs, so he leaves, not wanting her to lose another person she cares about. “Five Feet Apart” then skips forward in time to Claire appearing in a YouTube video in which she encourages everyone watching to cherish those they love and their ability to “touch” them, while clips reveal Claire’s prior experiences with Will and everyone important to her.
Will dies in the movie, but Sprouse revealed in an interview with Refinery29 that he does not “We wanted the conclusion to be open to interpretation. Many individuals who saw the film assumed he was still alive.” So, even if Sprouse doesn’t wind up with Stella, the spectator must eventually decide what happens to his character.
Several different endings were filmed.
While the official edit of “Five Feet Apart” concludes with Stella’s video message, Baldoni actually shot a number of different endings and tested them with test audiences to see which one worked best. In fact, on the official social media of “Five Feet Apart,” one of the most pleasant alternate endings was posted. Stella with her family and friends following her lung transplant in an alternative ending. Sitting outdoors, she notices Will to the side and approaches him, her voiceover repeating the message from the original closing video. The two simply exchange smiles and stares, leaving viewers to wonder if they will continue their affair or part ways.
Sprouse disclosed to Bustle that they actually recorded three or four endings to choose from and that it was arguably the aspect of the film that the creators spent the most time thinking over. The director told the publication that “it’s very rare that your lead character can look at you and kind of deliver the finale,” telling “us how she felt, and [offering] us a personal lesson based on her trip.” Because of the story’s use of social media and YouTube, Baldoni had the right opportunity to communicate a final message in a straightforward yet appropriate manner.
What happens in the Five Feet Apart book?
Although “Five Feet Apart” has a book adaptation, it is remarkable in that both the movie and the book were created at the same time. Despite this, there are a few significant variations in the two versions of Stella and Will’s story, the most significant of which is the conclusion. The spectator can choose whether Will dies or the two see each other again in the film, but the main characters’ narrative has a far more positive ending in the novel.
The book still concludes with Stella’s YouTube video, but this time Will is the one watching it. He’s waiting for his friend Jason at the airport, eight months after his breakup with Stella. The two guys are planning a vacation to Rio, with Will taking the opportunity to travel and see the globe as he has always desired. Stella is also there, on a trip to Rome with her friends Mya and Camila.
When Stella and Will see each other, they stand six feet apart, then five, leaving it open to interpretation as to whether this signifies they are rekindling their romance.