Five Feet Apart: if you liked the teenage angst movie The Fault in Our Stars, then perhaps this movie will warm your heart and bring a tear to your eye. A female teen has been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis which is a disease of the lungs. She is played admirably by the spunky Hayley Lu Richardson who I admit has many mannerisms and looks of my daughter. She has just returned to hospital after a spiked fever. There she meets the moody Will who is not so accepting of his more recent diagnosis. What seems most eerie in these days of Covid-19 are the masks, the isolation (using FaceTime meetings) and keeping six feet apart. You see, for two people with CF if they get any bacteria from another CF patient, then it can be potentially fatal. So much of what is now everyday for us in 2020 would when it was filmed have been unusual. I wonder aloud about how CF patients with such a compromised lung system fare with Covid-19. I suspect it isn’t very good since essentially they run at limited lung capacity to begin with and ultimately this is what takes their life; dying from lack of oxygen. This movie tries hard to illicit tears, and can be successful on a couple of occasions. It boils down to whether you care about the characters and whether they have been convincing in their disease. I won’t get into the details as they really aren’t necessary to a viewer’s enjoyment. If this is your kind of story, and you feel like a cry then you can spend some time here. Incidentally the five feet apart is our heroine taking back a foot from the disease that has taken so much from her.
The Queen’s Gambit: a new series on Netflix. Anya Taylor-Joy who was more well known for scary teen movies stars in this fictional account of a young chess prodigy. She is orphaned at the age of 9 and placed in an orphanage where she is provided with drugs and generally mistreated. She makes some friends, including a custodian who plays chess in the basement office. He teaches her and she is a very quick study. In time she reads more about chess and strategy and improves to be invited to play against the local high school chess team. Despite being much younger she defeats them all. About the same time she is taken in by a husband and wife looking to adopt. Well, the wife is looking to adopt, the husband doesn’t seem too interested in anything. The wife takes a passing interest in the chess between drinks. The story progresses as we see her move from the local stage (Kentucky State Finals) to national and then internationally. I am no chess expert but I know someone who is and they state the chess is very realistic. Filmed well and gives a sense of what it was like during the late 1950s and playing chess. The Russians are formidable and rule that world. Things happen. The prodigy grows up and learns to deal with adult challenges. This was despite claiming to be Kentucky was filmed in Cambridge Ontario. So there is a Canadian aspect to this. I thoroughly enjoyed this despite a bit of a predictable ending. All through it I was thinking about different (and darker) possibilities, thinking my about another prodigy like Bobby Fischer and his story (which despite other prominent players of the time being mentioned was not in this film). Well worth a viewing