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I was much moved by Charlie St. Cloud and by Zac Efron in the title
role. It looks like the young man is going out way beyond being a Walt
Disney bubblegum poster boy for pubescent young ladies.
When we first meet Efron in the title role he looks to be a young man with a bright future. A scholarship to Stanford is his as he graduates high school from his New England coastal town where he enjoys sailing and the companionship of his younger brother Charles Tatan. The two are rabid Red Sox fans as all New England kids are brought up to be. Efron's boat is named the Splendid Splinter which everyone in New England knows is the nickname of Ted Williams. Being much older than Zac or his character, I actually remember seeing Ted play.
A cruel trick of fate puts the two of them in the path of an oncoming drunk driver. Both die, but a determined paramedic played by Ray Liotta brings Efron back.
As per an agreement they made minutes before the crash, Efron and Tatan still meet in the woods every day to play catch and work on Tatan's baseball skills. It's all Efron lives for. By some trick of fate he can communicate and see Tatan, in fact he sees all kinds of dead folks including a young man he graduated with from high school who was killed in Iraq. Efron's forgotten Stanford and he now works at the local graveyard, the better to be near the ones he identifies with.
I won't go into the rest except that Efron does learn to let the dead bury the dead. Meeting up with Amanda Crew, another sailing enthusiast does help. And Liotta now dying of cancer tells Zac that he was saved for some special purpose.
Two great lessons of life are to be learned in Charlie St. Cloud. First that we all have some kind of destiny, the trick is to find it and recognize it. The second is that some people die young and maybe are meant to so that the rest of us recognize how precious life is and not to waste it. Having lost any number of people including a sister at a young age, it's something that is always uppermost in my mind.
Charlie St. Cloud is beautifully filmed with some breathtaking sailing sequences. The performers are flawless, especially Zac Efron. One thing I will agree with other reviewers about is that I wish that the role of the mother of the St. Cloud brothers played by Kim Basinger was more fully developed. After the death of her younger son, she moves out of town and you never really learn why.
Despite that minor criticism, Charlie St. Cloud is a moving film that should be seen by all generations for the life lessons imparted.
I like movies that are exactly as they claim to be. "Charlie St. Cloud"
is just that, a romantic drama, nothing more and nothing less.
There is nothing profound, although with a few thoughtful dynamics, it's just the story of a young man (Zac Efron) unable to overcome the tragic death of his younger brother until he meets a beautiful girl who shares his same passion for sailing.
The problems are plentiful, with cringe-worthy dialogue, supporting actors who haven't yet learned how to act, no affecting drama producing few tears, and there just isn't enough to completely hold your attention. But yet, because it's a simple love story that doesn't pretend to be grandiose and doesn't force out-of-place tears, I liked "Charlie St. Cloud". I found it to be sweet, subdued and modest.
It was also the perfect choice for Zac Efron as he matures in his acting career. Sure, there are probably a few too many shots of Efron standing in his jeans and t-shirts staring into the sunset with his longing, blue eyes, but that is, of course, partly why we would watch it in the first place.
Ben Sherwood's Novel THE DEATH AND LIFE OF CHARLIE ST. CLOUD pretty
much describes this Hallmarky love and spiritualism showcase for teen
idol Zac Efron. Craig Pearce and Lewis Colick adapted the book for the
screen and director Burr Sherwood (known for his other films that are
of this genre) stirs the whipped cream. It is a pretty story with
pretty people filmed in a pretty location (British Columbia) and the
results are pretty predictable, yet when compared to the types of
stories on film that flood the theaters at least this film has gentle
heart and a lack of terror and horror and for that we should be
Charlie St. Cloud (Zac Efron, who holds in own in this rather implausible role) is a highly regarded young sailor who is wins a sailing scholarship to Stanford upon graduation from high school. He is devoted to his younger brother Sam (Charlie Tahan) and his single mother nurse Claire (Kim Basinger - don't blink or you'll miss her very brief appearance in the film). One night while Claire is on extra shift at the hospital Charlie and Sam are in an auto accident: Sam dies, but Charlie is resuscitated by paramedic Florio Ferrente (Ray Liotta, in another very brief cameo). Charlie is devastated over Sam's death and gives up his chances for a life by taking a custodian job in the town cemetery so he can be near a certain spot where he 'sees' and communicates with Sam every sunset - a life long promise to never leave his little brother. Five years pass and Charlie's friend Alistair (Augustus Prew) - his only other friend Sully (Dave Franco, brother of actor James Franco) has gone into the military - tries to encourage Charlie to date, but Charlie's eyes fall on Tess (Amanda Crew), a fellow sailor from the past, and love begins. Tess decides to take a long solo voyage in her boat and disappears. Charlie meets the now cancer-ridden and dying Florio who gives him his St Jude medal and encourages Charlie to embrace life. Charlie strikes out on a mission to find the missing Tess and the rest is pretty obvious.
Though the story is heavy on the saccharine edge and strains credibility, the team of actors is very fine - especially Zac Efron, whose presence is on the screen in practically every frame - so the film ends up being endearing. The cinematography by Enrique Chediak is gorgeous and the musical score by Rolfe Kent leans heavily on sad love songs. It is not a profound film though it does dip gently into the ideas of 'the beyond', but there is something about the honesty of it all that makes it s a satisfying evening of entertainment.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After reading the book, I could hardly wait for this film to open and
believe me it doesn't disappoint.
Zac Efron does a great acting job as Charlie St. Cloud, a boy who has just received a sailing scholarship from Stamford. His future is all but sewn up until he and his brother Sam (played wonderfully by Charlie Tahan)get into a car accident. Sam and Charlie both die, but a caring paramedic by the name of Florio Ferrente (another great performance by Ray Liotta) performs a miracle and is able to bring Charlie back. Before he returns to the land of the living, Charlie promises Sam that he will always be there for him, no matter what. And so every day, Charlie comes back to play catch with Sam. Five years later he has chucked his scholarship and is now a caretaker at Waterside Cemetery, so that he can be close to his brother. Everything is going along well, until he spies a young woman by the name of Tess Carroll (another great acting job by Amanda Crew) who is getting ready to sail around the world. He meets her at the cemetery while she is cleaning out her father's grave and the two form a strong bond, although neither of them knows it yet.
One day, Florio spots Charlie in the street and tells him that he was saved for a reason and was given a second chance at life and that Charlie is just throwing his life away.
After a few days, he spots Tess again at her father's grave and their bond becomes deeper until the two fall passionately in love. Now Charlie must choose between the living and the dead and find his second chance at life.
By the way, Charlie can see the dead because of the promise he made to his brother before he was brought back to life by Florio. When he breaks the bond with Sam, he loses the ability to see the dead.
The movie did follow the book closely with slight differences, but all in all it is a film worth checking out just to marvel at the great acting job by all. And I am going to recommend reading the beautiful book The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood. You will need a hankie for both.
for geniuskentyk...my advice is to read the book..it will explain away a lot of the things that are missing for you...
I have to admit, that I never gave much thought of the phenomenon that
was surrounding Zac Efron. The ladies seemed to love him and no one
could have blamed him, if he just kept making the simple romantic
movies, that would please his fan base.
He seems to have other things on his mind though. He is trying to act. And I have to admit, that I was surprised at how engaging and how truthful he seemed in this one. I do think he is better than the High School Musical tag he has stamped on him (which would mean, he is a bad actor, which frankly I don't think could be said of him).
His character does get a lot of attention from the female characters on display here, which seems natural. On the other hand, you do have the female lead in here, that does not seem to get any attention whatsoever, which makes you wonder if the male "population" in the movie is blind or into other things. Whatever it is, this is one of the things that do not feel right. The other being the mixture between the elements on display here. Let me just tell you, that this isn't neither your simple romantic movie, nor just pure drama. There is other aspects to it. I can see though that this might ruin the movie for quite a few people. Especially if they expected something more straight-forward.
As I watched this movie I felt like I was viewing my own life story...
In 1991 I lost my little brother to a tragic accident as well. The emotions and inability to continue "living" life felt by Charlie are the same I had struggled with for many years. I found this movie to be extremely emotional, heart felt and true to the subject at hand. The acting of ALL the actors was outstanding, as well as the camera work, editing, directing, and most of all the writing.
If you like movies with true heart and emotion I highly recommend this movie as you can tell by my rating of 10. Honestly, I would rate it even higher than that if I could.
Although my love of this movie is very much inspired by my personal attachment to the subject, I think anyone would find this movie to be very touching...
Charlie St Cloud is the type of movie many people will love to hate.
The plot is simply contrived and the script is somewhat identical to
Shyamalan's film "The Sixth Sense" yet I was very much moved by the
story of Charlie St. Cloud and by Zac Efron in the title role. It looks
like Zac is going out of his way to shred that teenage 'High School
Musical' image that he is now known for.
When we first meet Efron in the title role he looks to be a young man with a bright future. A scholarship to Stanford awaits as he graduates high school from his New England coastal town where he enjoys sailing with his younger brother Charlie Tahan. The two share some heart warming chemistry as brothers, those who have younger siblings will understand the brotherly love between the two.
However, a cruel trick of fate puts the two of them in the path of an oncoming drunk driver. Both die, but a determined, spiritual paramedic played by Ray Liotta manages to bring Efron back.
As per an agreement they made minutes before the crash, Zac and Charlie still meet in the woods every day to play catch and work on Charlie's baseball skills. It's all Efron lives for. By some trick of fate he can communicate and see his deceased brother. Efron's forgotten Stanford and he now works at the local graveyard, to be close Charlie so that He can fulfil the promise he made.
I won't go into it too much except that the climax is something that we have seen before yet it is still touching and shows that we must learn that the true value of life is to live and let live.
I came out of the cinema feeling good and that is what the film is all about- loving life. My only criticism is that Liotta and Kim Basinger(as the mother) don't have enough screen time, although i must say that Liotta still manages to impress even with this small supporting role. Zac Efron and Charlie Tahan deliver strong performances as the two brothers and Amanda Crew is pretty decent. The film is beautifully shot and the scenery is quite breathtaking at times.
We've seen quite a few romantic dramas this year(Dear John, The Last Song)- but this has to be one of the most touching(not the most original i must say) but still, it'll make you feel good inside. So my advice is go watch the movie or rent it when it comes out on DVD and don't believe those critics who's job it is to tell us how bad the movie must be just because it didn't earn $100 million at the box office.
This film is about a young man who loses his younger brother to a
traffic accident. He remains locked in a state of grief until he
rekindles with his friend from high school.
"Charlie St. Cloud" is beautifully filmed, with great artistic scenes and amazing sceneries. Cinematography is great, and many scenes are so beautiful that they could become postcards. However, the story is not as good, it is not very engaging. I find the plot unconvincing and the story telling is rather poor. The romance Charlie and the girl develops is unconvincing and contrived, and the emotional burden and guilt of Charlie could have been explored further.
There are many parallels to other twisty, turning, "are they alive or
dead?" films of this genre that probably do it at lot better but Burr
Steers effort is undeniably entertaining. He has some great acting from
Charlie Tahan in particular to raise the rating a notch or two too.
The opening is neatly crafted as back story explaining how brothers Charlie (Efron) and Sam (Tahan) are as inseparable in death as in life. Fast forward five years and we have the revelation of a gift Charlie may, or may not, have. The story takes over from there as a charmingly meandering exploration of promises, principles, reasons and deeply held beliefs. Zac Efron gives a goodish but slightly uneven presentation of the "man with a mission", his own worse enemy, but also one of his word. There are moments when Efron is very convincing but there are others when he seems to be going through the motions. What Charlie Tahan succeeds in doing is taking the simple and raw and keeping it simple and raw, something Efron needs to work on.
Amanda Crew is good as the romantic interest and there are a couple of cameos from Kim Basinger and Ray Liotta.
Now I will not plot spoil to reveal the bigger flaws in the script but I was not expecting a revelation to be made in quite the way it was, and at the time was left thinking - that's stupid it should have been done differently without spoiling the story - but that is show business for you! Overall it is a worthwhile film with a reasonable point to make. I give it seven out of ten.
I really enjoyed this movie. It didn't disappoint me at all because I
didn't expect much more than a beautiful love story, pretty scenery,
very good acting, and thought-provoking ideas. I got exactly what I
came for and maybe even a little more. The script is pretty dull, but
the way the movie was filmed and acted made it absolutely amazing the
way I saw it. Absolutely gorgeous scenery and cinematography, original
ideas and scenes (I loved the graveyard scene when Tess and Charlie are
chasing each other around with candle lights and pretty music, there
was nothing at all about it that I'd seen before), very good acting,
and a very beautiful story is what made this movie so great in my eyes.
Despite how gorgeous Zac Efron is, it is clear he is capable of above-mediocre acting. He had nearly nothing to work with but made this movie captivating because of how carefully he played his words and showed his emotion. Nothing felt forced. The script is so dull but because of his ability to portray what was meant to be said, it made the movie ten times better. He is much more than good looks even though and I know his blue eyes are distracting, but he has a lot of talent. I think some people don't want to believe that someone can have both great looks and great talent because they get envious. He has made astounding career choices and has worked his way to the top, unlike Miley Cyrus, he has pure talent and heart at what he does, and hasn't gone all bare-skinned and photo scandal-ish to draw attention away from his lack of talent. He is grateful for his career and his talent is shining through. I believe he has a very promising career ahead of him despite all this silly hatred he is getting. He is a precious gem in my eyes; both gorgeous and very talented and able to show emotion in such a real way. The lead actress Amanda Crew did an okay job, she wasn't terrible, wasn't great. His graveyard friend provided comic relief and I thought he was funny.
All in all, I give this movie 10/10 because I went in theaters to see it twice, I am thoroughly impressed with Zac and the career choices he has made, I loved how uniquely it was filmed and how original the story was, and I'm just a sappy hopeless romantic so I love films like this.
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