Charlie St Cloud
(PG) Zac Efron, Kim Basinger
Zac Efron stars in this supernatural drama about a young man who can’t quite let go of the past for fear that he may have to move on in life.
Accomplished high school sailor Charlie (Efron) has the adoration of single mother Claire (Kim Basinger) and little brother Sam (Charlie Tahan) as well as a highly sought after scholarship to Stanford that will lead him far from his sleepy hometown.
One night while delivering Sam to a friend’s house, the brothers are involved in a horrific car accident, which takes the life of Sam. Charlie promised Sam that night that he would never leave him and is bought back to life by paramedic Florio Ferrente (Ray Liotta) who believes God has spared Charlie for a reason.
Inconsolable, during the funeral of his brother, Charlie runs from the graveside and into the forest behind the cemetery, stumbling upon a small clearing just as the sun is setting.
Dazed and crying, he looks up and is stunned to see Sam, standing in the clearing as if nothing has transpired, baseball and glove in hand, ready to practise with Charlie.
In this moment he vows, every afternoon, to come to the clearing and play ball with Sam.
Five years pass and Charlie has let life pass him by. He now works at the cemetery and seems to have a unique gift: he is able to talk to those who have passed and been buried there.
When he becomes romantically entangled with a former classmate, Charlie is torn between his promise to Sam and the ability to move forward with his newfound love.
This is an excellent film about grief, its aftermath and the ability to move on with life. It is also a profound film about second chances and the plans God has for us.
Post High School Musical, Efron is proving to be an actor with emotional depth (currently he can also be seen in Me and Orson Welles). As Charlie, he gives a poignant and nuanced performance.
Based on the acclaimed novel by Ben Sherwood, The Life and Death of Charlie St Cloud, this is an affecting fable that presents well the intersection of life and death, of remembering and forgetting, and what is required of those left behind.
It is also a carefully drawn portrait of grief and sorrow — as well as a celebration of the liberating and transformative power of love.
Heavy themes for a film about an 18 year old?
On the contrary; it is refreshing to watch a film for a teenage demographic that doesn’t talk down to them and at the same time is as engaging for adults.