From “Pushing Daisies” to “Five Feet Apart”, film novels for the socially distant age

Mar 28, 2020 12:45 AM ET

Various film genres vaguely relate to the current social distancing, including the “last man on earth” category (and almost always were men). Indeed, Richard Matheson’s science fiction novel “I Am Legend” has been adapted three times, with Vincent Price (“The Last Man on Earth”), Charlton Heston (“Omega Man”) and Will Smith (the original title).

However, this type of film can be a bit stressful, while hopeless romance – and the idea that two people are drawn to each other but kept apart for an exceptional reason – could be one of the better options.

With regard to romance, forced separation or distance has become an integral part of youth literature, some of which have already been converted into films. It is usually a disease that prevents lovers from being together or even touching an imagination that has various metaphorical aspects.

While such titles have increased, the examples go back decades. Here are just a few.

Pushing Daisies (2007-09)

Producer Bryan Fuller’s extremely bizarre ABC series (available on CW Seed) only lasted a few seasons, but remains among the little gems that got away.

Lee Pace plays Ned, a piemaker whose touch can bring people back to life for a few moments, pointing out that he has to touch them again, and at this point they remain dead forever.

He breaks this rule because of Chuck (Anna Friel), but after keeping her alive, he can never touch her. Funny, dark, and wildly romantic, the show contained a criminal procedural element that wasn’t romantic, but it’s worth watching, if only because of the chemistry of the leads and the creative way they interact, such as: B. Hold hands with thick gloves or beekeeping suits.

Five feet apart (2019)

This teen romance is a true title for the current crisis and plays Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse as two teenagers with cystic fibrosis – a condition that makes them particularly dangerous for each other and requires a distance of two meters.

Of course, they gradually fall in love and essentially find a way to steal that extra foot back. Directed by Justin Baldoni of “Jane the Virgin”, it was inspired by a documentary in which he profiled young people with the disease.

“The Lake House” (2006)

This time, Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves don’t fall in love, but fall in love with letters they leave behind – the only way to interact with each other since they live in the same lake house, just two years apart. The A.O. The New York Times Scott described it as a “wonderfully illogical time travel romance,” which is about right.

“The Boy in the Plastic Bubble” (1976)

This television film is loosely inspired by the true story of a boy who was born with severe immune deficiencies. He plays John Travolta as “Youth of the Title” and Glynnis O’Connor as the girl next door whom he falls in love with. As is well known hokey, it was faked a quarter of a century later by “Bubble Boy”, a dark satire with a very young Jake Gyllenhaal.

“Everything, everything” (2017)

Amandla Stenberg plays the 18-year-old Maddy, who cannot leave the protective environment of her house due to her condition. And yes, she has a relationship with the boy next door (Nick Robinson) who has access to tools (like text messages) that the boy can only imagine in the plastic bubble.

“The Twilight Zone” (1959-64)

Though not straight to the point, some of Rod Serling’s best episodes of science fiction anthology have been exuberantly romantic and loosely applicable to unusual tests for couples.

Two of these – both written by Serling – deserve special mention: “The Long Morrow” (1964) with Robert Lansing as astronaut, who has the terrible timing to fall in love with a woman (Mariette Hartley) in front of him Journey that will keep him away for decades; and “The Trade-Ins” (1962) with Joseph Schildkraut and Alma Platt as a dedicated old couple who may buy healthy new bodies in the future to replace their failing ones, but only have enough money for one.

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