9 August 2010 | bkoganbing
The St. Cloud Brothers In Life And Death
I was much moved by Charlie St. Cloud and by Zac Efron in the title role. It looks like the young man is going out way beyond being a Walt Disney bubblegum poster boy for pubescent young ladies.
When we first meet Efron in the title role he looks to be a young man with a bright future. A scholarship to Stanford is his as he graduates high school from his New England coastal town where he enjoys sailing and the companionship of his younger brother Charles Tatan. The two are rabid Red Sox fans as all New England kids are brought up to be. Efron's boat is named the Splendid Splinter which everyone in New England knows is the nickname of Ted Williams. Being much older than Zac or his character, I actually remember seeing Ted play.
A cruel trick of fate puts the two of them in the path of an oncoming drunk driver. Both die, but a determined paramedic played by Ray Liotta brings Efron back.
As per an agreement they made minutes before the crash, Efron and Tatan still meet in the woods every day to play catch and work on Tatan's baseball skills. It's all Efron lives for. By some trick of fate he can communicate and see Tatan, in fact he sees all kinds of dead folks including a young man he graduated with from high school who was killed in Iraq. Efron's forgotten Stanford and he now works at the local graveyard, the better to be near the ones he identifies with.
I won't go into the rest except that Efron does learn to let the dead bury the dead. Meeting up with Amanda Crew, another sailing enthusiast does help. And Liotta now dying of cancer tells Zac that he was saved for some special purpose.
Two great lessons of life are to be learned in Charlie St. Cloud. First that we all have some kind of destiny, the trick is to find it and recognize it. The second is that some people die young and maybe are meant to so that the rest of us recognize how precious life is and not to waste it. Having lost any number of people including a sister at a young age, it's something that is always uppermost in my mind.
Charlie St. Cloud is beautifully filmed with some breathtaking sailing sequences. The performers are flawless, especially Zac Efron. One thing I will agree with other reviewers about is that I wish that the role of the mother of the St. Cloud brothers played by Kim Basinger was more fully developed. After the death of her younger son, she moves out of town and you never really learn why.
Despite that minor criticism, Charlie St. Cloud is a moving film that should be seen by all generations for the life lessons imparted.