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Charlie St. Cloud Has Promise

Published July 30, 2010 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Universal Pictures
Charlie St. Cloud Charlie St. Cloud
I love a good death movie. My Sister’s Keeper was awesome, making you feel like a teenager had cancer and was dying of cancer and her mom forced her sister to save her from cancer and they joked about cancer and it was all about having cancer. Monster’s Ball, Marley & Me, Up and anything where people or at least sentient beings really deal with death, that’s cathartic to me.

Review: Charlie St. Cloud

Charlie St. Cloud has a lot of promise. I really believe his kid brother died in a car crash and he feels sad. What, too soon?

This is one I should maybe explain a little. Charlie has a bright future ahead with college and sailing, but his guilt for surviving the accident holds him back. He actually sees his brother and plays catch with him every sundown so that keeps him from leaving town. Now he works as a cemetery landscaper.

So it’s about the things that keep people from leaving home and taking opportunities. That’s real. Maybe it will inspire some people struggling at home to break through their fears and live some life. It’s also about where dreamy broody guys come from, because Zac Efron really sells Charlie’s sketchy behavior, but man is he still dreamy.

I did think it would be kind of cool if there were some From Dusk ‘Til Dawn shift halfway through the movie. Like it’s this drama about death and guilt, but then zombies rise from the graves and Charlie’s the only one who knows how to deal with it because he’s the one who sees his dead kid brother. (Note: That’s not what happens in Charlie St. Cloud. I’m not giving away spoilers.)

It’s nice to just see people relating to each other. That’s heartwarming. It’s really sensitive and it’s great to see supportive people. It does tell the exact same information three times. What’s that for, so we can see Efron act his heart out three times? It does get heavy handed. This is a movie where people speak wisdom overtly. Some allusions to the afterlife and spiritual themes are really not subtle. Also, where’s mom in all this? We hear a message from her late in the movie but did she skip town? Her son turned down Stanford and she’s just waiting for him to come around?

It doesn’t have the momentum and catharsis I look for in a death movie though. It’s just happening. Maybe that’s real, but it’s less of a drama. It does make you work for a kiss, and the love interest is smart, and kind of right about starting a romance at home when she’s about to leave herself. See, it comes full circle.
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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Universal Pictures

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