So I found a new trailer for a movie coming out called FIVE FEET APART, coming to theaters March 2019. It is about two people with cystic fibrosis who fall in love when it is terribly dangerous for those affected with that condition to do so. If you’re unfamiliar with CF, it is a progressive disease that affects the lungs where too much mucus builds up, blocking airways, making it difficult to breathe and is life threatening.
So CBS films apparently found it would make a compelling story to tell on the big screen. You can check out the trailer here.
I had an odd feeling about how things were portrayed in this movie, so I asked a real life CF ass-kicker about his reaction to the trailer. Well...he had A LOT to say.
“It's the movie we've all been waiting for our whole lives. And now that it is here, I almost wish it wasn't.
Granted, this is just a trailer, and maybe the film will surprise us all with how it is executed. But let's get down to brass tacks. First, not everyone wears oxygen tubes. Not even half of us do. Thanks for flaunting the #sickbling, can't wait to be a visual stereotype for you. Second, the love story itself as a focus seems like it's robbing us of a good narrative. Although love can be the backdrop for a complex and interesting examination, I have a feeling that all the nuanced, dark, and gross moments of having CF will be relegated simply to a backdrop.
And finally, falling in love with someone with CF is...disastrous. It of course happens, and it is a much discussed topic among CF forums. We have heard the heart breaking stories, few though they may be. And many host the curiosity at times. Yet the inevitable can't be denied: not only do you deal with your own illness, not only do you have a partner that you have to support physically on top of yourself, but one of you watches the other die. Scratch that, one of you kills the other by your sheer presence. Murder-suicide.
It's not cute, it's not romantic, it's not dramatic. And it's not dumb either. Foolish is the word of choice: we can't live an idealistic life. We must accept realities quickly and earnestly, or we do not survive. We choose not to fall in love with those that will best relate to us. We choose to live.
And yet some of us don't. There are plenty of people that choose not to live, not to do their treatments. They aren't dark and brooding nihilists, dreamy and mysterious in their unwavering stare down of fate. They are terrified, depressed, and self-harming people that typically quit because they are sick anyway, and crave a tiny semblance of control in their lives. They willingly die, not out of metaphysical analysis, but succumb to sheer physical pain. And no one, NO ONE, will embrace them in a quirky romance when they aren't taking care of themselves. The only thing more terrifying of loving someone who is trying to live and fail is loving someone that already gave up.
The people portrayed will most likely be real people with CF. But they do not define us as a community. In fact, that is what makes CF unique. There are 700 mutations, and every single individual manifests the illness differently. At 29% I am almost never hospitalized, and I have never needed oxygen. I have worked as a pedicab driver, a farmer, a ski guide, and I have and continue to play trombone, rock climb, and do p90X. Yet someone with double my function will be in and out of a hospital. Infinite variation in between.
Somehow I have a feeling we will be monocropped.
I don't want to see this movie. I don't want to see my life story told to millions without my voice. Yet we all need it to be seen, finally. Is this how people with cancer feel about the Fault in our Stars? Which reminds me, thanks for being original from the mutually dying romance down to the god damned wires in our nose.
Oh, and by the way, I've never been told "5 feet of distance." Why? Because you fucking cough all the fucking time. And projectile droplets can go 20 feet.
But ya know, "don't be in the same room as someone with CF" isn't as catchy.”
Well, there you have it, folks. A real person with CF is displeased that this movie even exists. What do you guys think? Is Hollywood insensitive to those who aren’t in the social justice warrior spotlight? To me: sure, it’s cool if they’re bringing awareness of such a disease to the public, but they should probably consult someone with real CF about what the life is like.