Charlie St Cloud
Based on an acclaimed novel, Charlie St. Cloud is a romantic drama starring Zac Efron as a young man who survives an accident that lets him see the world in a unique way. In this emotionally charged story, he begins a romantic journey in which he embraces the dark realities of the past while discovering the transformative power of love.
This is a movie which deals with death. Some of the moments on screen will cause the viewer to question whether or not what is happening can be taken at face value, or if it is symbolic or even a dream. It becomes more defined as the story progresses. Zac Effron as Charlie St. Cloud does, in my opinion, a very good job in the acting department in playing the older brother to Samuel, who tragically dies in an automobile accident when a drunk driver slams into the vehicle that Charlie is driving. Interestingly, Charlie dies too but is brought back to life by a paramedic (Ray Liotta) who plays an important role in Charlie’s future. Effron’s range varies from happy in the beginning as he physically and good naturedly pokes at Sam, to a grief stricken recluse after Sam’s death. When an old school mate tells him in a bar scene that no one would want Charlie as a designated driver, Effron plays the rage of a young man dealing with more than he can handle, and he does so extremely well.
The story eventually leads to a point in which Charlie learns he did survive the accident for a purpose, and ultimately the purpose is revealed. There are theology issues in the story which some viewers will decidedly not agree with, such as the dead hovering in an in-between state until the living are ready to let go, and the mention of St. Jude’s intervention whose medal in this story plays a pivotal role for people facing lost causes in their life.
For us at Dove, we are unfortunately unable to award this film our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal due to the sex and language categories, both of which registers a three, placing it just outside of Dove’s family-approved category.