Movie Review: Charlie St. Cloud

Charlie had a great life going for him, he wasn’t rich, but was talented enough to get a scholarship to an ivy league school for his excellent skills in sailing. He shared this talent with his little brother, Sam and together they were inseparable. Charlie had just graduated High School and planned to spend one hour every day with Sam teaching him baseball until he had to go off to college. Tragically, they are in a fatal car accident and Charlie was barely revived, but Sam was lost.

Charlie being so distraught by the accident, was never able to accept the outcome and deferred his scholarship and five years later, we pick up with Charlie working in a graveyard and talking to his dead brother every day when they throw the baseball together.

The story is pretty compelling and goes on to show Charlie dealing with his gift/curse and what it brings him in the end is ultimately sweet, even though it may be predicable. I never read the book before, so I’m not sure how closely it follows the story. The most positive thought I have about the film is just the story itself. It’s a unique story with interesting characters that have a lot of care for one another. It flows along nicely without dragging in places.

As far as the actors cast for the parts, Zac Efron plays Charlie St. Cloud decently. I think he has a career ahead of him as the next Jared Leto. There were only a couple of scenes that were questionable of his talents, but most won’t even notice because there will be so many women swooning in the audience around them. Younger brother Sam was played wonderfully by Charlie Tahan. He wasn’t in the film that much, but when he was it was easy to feel grief, sadness or even humor with him.

The biggest problems I have with the film is the adaptation leaving gaping holes in the plot. Charlie’s mother was played by Kim Basinger and we only see her in one or two scenes in the beginning. After the five year break, there is a quick line thrown in about how his mom moved away. What ever became of the Mom? Why did she move away? More importantly, if this was the only parts we would ever see of the Mom, then why cast a huge star like Basinger? I would have done the role for a free lunch.

Another throw away character was Florio Ferrente played by Ray Liotta. This is the St. Jude-loving paramedic that saves Charlie’s life the night of the accident. He has an important part in moving the story forward to it’s ultimate conclusion, but the way it was executed was just a waste of Ray Liotta’s brilliant talents. It was also an obvious pounding of religion and faith in your face. If you want my honest opinion, I think the editor of the film was crushing on Efron too hard to notice she began cutting everyone else out of film to give him more screen time. “Well, we can’t cut this shot, he looks so cute when he looks up, and this one must stay in because he takes his shirt off!”

I digress, the story kept me interested and the direction was beautiful, and not because of Efron’s abs. The story takes place on the North-Eastern coast, so there were plenty of shiny-iridescent shots of water, sailboats and sunsets. My initial thoughts about the film were positive and it wasn’t until the drive home that I realized the previous things listed. I still can’t tell you to skip this film because of those things. It’s a compelling story that will take you along for a ride of emotions with the characters; even if some of them only have a five minute scene.

I give Charlie St. Cloud 2.5 “still better looking than anyone in Twilight” out of 5

by Angela Davis

About Angela

Angela is the Editor-in-Chief of Lost in Reviews. She and Ryan created Lost in Reviews together in 2009 out of a mutual hatred for all the stodgy old farts currently writing film reviews. Since launching the site, Angela has enjoyed reviewing indie films over all other films, picking up new music from all corners of the world and photographing live shows. She is the co-host of Blu Monday and a member of the Kansas City Film Critic Circle.

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