After Charlie survives a car crash that kills his younger brother, he is given the gift of seeing the spirits of his brother and others who he has lost, and must use his powers to save the woman he loves from impending disaster.
Fatherless golden high school boy Charlie St. Cloud had a golden future, handsome, popular and admitted to Stanford on a scholarship, even recruited for a prestigious yacht sailing team. But shortly after graduating, Charlie feels existentially guilty about the death of his doting, beloved kid brother Sam whom he was driving to a playmate when a crashing car killed the junior. Charlie pledges to continue the baseball practice he promised to continue until entering Stanford, which he now ditches fro a menial job as graveyard keeper, while their mother shamelessly moved out of state, and tends to the grave of his Vietnam-killed former school buddy Sully, the second ghost who binds his sole to their beach home town. He's finally tempted to start living his own life again when he meets a female sailor his age about to embark on a transatlantic voyage and spends a ho night, but still can't 'leave Sam'. Only when he hears the authorities give up searching for her, having gone missing at sea...Written by
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.
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