Charlie St. Cloud is a story of a boy who has everything and then in one tragic moment loses it all. Charlie is set to attend Stanford in the fall on a full sailing scholarship, (do they really have those?) feeling guilty about moving away from his younger brother, Sam, Charlie promises to help him with his dream of playing baseball by practicing everyday until he leaves for college. After graduation, Charlie decides to go to a party with his friends. The only problem is that he is supposed to babysit his little brother that night. A tragic car accident takes the life of his brother that night and almost kills Charlie as well. Charlie is brought back from the dead by an EMT that refuses to give up on him.
Five years later, Charlie is the town freak, never having left to go to college and working in the local cemetery. No one can understand why such a promising kid gave up everything, but Charlie’s brush with death gave him the ability to see people when they are in the “in between,” which enables him to play catch with his brother everyday like he promised.
Tess Carroll, a girl Charlie went to high school with, comes back into town to prepare for a solo around the world sailing trip and Charlie pursues a relationship with her. This forces him into a decision: should he join her world or continue to stay with Sam?
Charlie St. Cloud is meant to be a tearjerker but honestly, I was bored after the first twenty minutes. I get the point that was being made, that it is hard to let go of the past and move on, but seriously, five years? Also, maybe Zac Efron’s Charlie should have gotten some help for the hallucinations he was having of his brother. Perhaps I’m being too harsh, but I felt that this was a showcase of Zac Efron’s ability to cry on cue. I think that the film lacked in story and was way too heavy on forced sentimentality. It almost felt as if the director Burr Steers, was dead set on making the audience cry, so much so that he was willing to sacrifice story and lay on the cheese.
The supporting cast gave adequate, if not a bit bored, performances. Of course, veterans Kim Bassinger and Ray Liotta gave good performances, well as good as possible with the material, while newcomers Amanda Crews and Charlie Tahan were passable but also forgettable. Augustus Prew stood out of the supporting cast, playing Charlie’s co-worker and friend, Alistar Wooley. He lightened up the mood during his scenes and made the movie bearable.
If you don’t mind being force fed emotions, love Zac Efron, and have a take it or leave it attitude towards a believable storyline, this is your movie.
Charlie St. Cloud is a C-