We recommend our top five picks to watch after you’ve seen the latest sick-lit romance story.
When it comes to romantic dramas there are a few tropes that are used continuously to pull at our heart strings. Love triangles and people of opposite social classes are commonplace, but mental and terminal illnesses seem to take the top of the list in this genre. More recently, stories have been following a trend of sick-lit romances revolving around one or two terminally ill teenagers who fall in love. The latest addition to this genre is the charming hospital-bound tale Five Feet Apart (review here).
For this week’s list of movie recommendations, I’ve looked at stories that fall into the same sub-genre of the romantic drama or feel like influences on this film. These films aren’t all cinematic masterpieces by any means, but they certainly quench the craving that Five Feet Apart might leave you with after two hours of teary-eyed drama.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (2014)
The first film for this list is a no-brainer as it is the most successful addition to this genre in recent years. The Fault in Our Stars follows the story of two teenage cancer patients who begin a life-affirming journey to visit a reclusive author in Amsterdam. The story itself is an absolute tear-jerking from start to finish, but it is complemented by the superb chemistry and performances of the leads Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. Their spark is undeniable making their romance easy to invest in and the journey all the more heartbreaking. If you enjoyed Five Feet Apart‘s story, characters, themes, tone, style, or atmosphere then you might like The Fault in Our Stars.
MIDNIGHT SUN (2018)
Another film that deals with illness affecting romance, albeit an unconventional one. Midnight Sun follows the story of a 17-year-old girl who suffers from a condition that prevents her from being out in the sunlight. This isn’t your typical hospital-bound illness as Bella Thorne’s Katie is deathly sensitive to sunlight. While the setting is slightly altered, the isolation that comes with it is very much the same. Pair the romance of Thorne and Schwarzenegger and this story checks all the boxes of a tragic romantic drama. If you enjoyed Five Feet Apart‘s characters, themes, tone, style, or atmosphere then you might like Midnight Sun.
EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING (2017)
It seems like a lot of the films are pretty much the same formula with slight alterations to the illness and a different cast. Everything, Everything follows the story of a teenager who’s spent her whole life confined to her home who falls for the boy next door. Again this is not a typical hospital-bound illness story. The main character suffers from SCID, an immune disorder, that prevents her from human contact. However, that doesn’t stop the curious teen from finding love and pushing herself into life-threatening situations. The chemistry and charisma of Stenberg and Robinson drive this generic film making it a formidable, but forgettable addition to the genre. If you enjoyed Five Feet Apart‘s story, characters, themes, tone, style, or atmosphere then you might like Everything, Everything.
A WALK TO REMEMBER (2002)
A Nicholas Sparks film that uses terminal illness as a major plot point? Sounds unheard of. A Walk to Remember follows the story of two North Carolina teens who are thrown together after one of them gets into trouble and is forced to do community service. Again a tragic romance that ends too soon this time at the hands of leukemia. This film is certainly more melodramatic than most on this list thanks to the overuse of Spark-isms throughout its story. However, the chemistry between Moore and West makes this story a lot more emotionally relatable and cathartic than it could have been. If you enjoyed Five Feet Apart‘s tone, style, or atmosphere then you might like A Walk to Remember.
ME BEFORE YOU (2016)
The final film on this list another heartbreaking tale of lost love and rediscovering one’s self. Me Before You follows the story of a girl in a small town who forms an unlikely bond with a recently-paralyzed man she’s taking care of. This film, like many on this list, has a stigma for misrepresenting the illness it uses as one of its plot points. However, the sombre tone of its themes paired with the charisma and chemistry of Clarke and Claflin make for a poignant tragedy. If you enjoyed Five Feet Apart‘s story, characters, themes, tone, or atmosphere then you might like Me Before You.
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