Just by the title, Charlie St. Cloud (the St. Cloud particularly), you don't have to guess there's something magical about this film.
After seeing the trailer, you definitely know there is.
Talented young sailor Charlie St. Cloud (Zac Efron, High School Musical series, 17 Again) can somehow see and speak to the ghost of his deceased little brother Sam (adorable yet sometimes annoying (in the pestering kid brother way), Charlie Tahan, I Am Legend).
One night, Charlie tries to sneak out to a party instead of babysitting Sam but Sam convinces Charlie to take him along. On the way, they are involved in a car accident and Sam dies while Charlie almost dies but is brought back to life.
Of course Charlie blames himself and instead of going off to college with a sailing scholarship he earned, he stays in town and takes a job at the cemetary where his brother is buried.
The film fast forwards 5 years later after the accident where Charlie regularly talks to and plays baseball with Sam (before the accident he promised Sam everyday at sunset they would practice baseball). Charlie not only sees his brother, but also a high school classmate who was killed while serving in the military.
Charlie slowly starts to notice and begins to fall for an ex-classmate, Tess (Amanda Crew, Final Destination 3, The Haunting in Connecticut), a headstrong sailor who plans to sail around the world.
Charlie becomes torn between keeping his promise to Sam as he struggles to let go of the past, and starting a relationship with Tess who has fallen for him.
St. Cloud is a tragic love story on one hand, with Charlie not being able to let go of his brother. But a sweet love story on the other hand, as he and Tess fall in love with each other.
The film is filled with a surprising twist mid-way (think a less creepy Sixth Sense) that I didn't see coming at all.
It is visually great look to it (there's some really beautiful ocean shots especially), making the fictitious seaside town seem like a picture perfect place to live and one you easily can get lost in.
Efron is wonderful, real and so likable as Charlie. His career has the potential to sky rocket and hopefully it will.
Kim Basinger (9 1/2 Weeks, Batman) makes an appearance as the St. Cloud boy's hard working mother. Her role is tiny but it was a treat seeing her as always.
Ray Liotta (Goodfellas, Wild Hogs) unexpectedly pops up as Florio Ferrente, the paramedic who resisitates Charlie and gives him words of wisdom on living life that eventually wake Charlie up from the frozen state he's in.
Charlie St. Cloud is a lovely little film. It starts off with tragedy but by the ending, there's a lightness to it.
St. Cloud shines.
Zac Efron, Charlie Tahan, Amanda Crew, Ray Liotta, Kim Basinger
1 hr. 49 mins.
~The film is based upon the 2004 novel: The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud, by Ben Sherwood.