Movie Review – Charlie St. Cloud

There hasn’t been a lot of movies out this summer that have grabbed me and compelled me to go see them.  Most of the ones that did pique my interest didn’t motivate me enough to put other priorities aside and go to the theater.  And, the ones that I did go to the theater to see have been less than impressive – “The Kids Are All Right” was good, but fell a little flat and “The Other Guys” was a total waste of my time!  So, I decided not to gamble on “Dinner With Schmucks” – which I thought might be a fun movie, but so far, I haven’t heard many rave reviews from those I know who have seen it and I actually over heard someone at the theater yesterday say it was the dumbest movie they had ever seen – not a good sign!

So, I was even a little leery of “Charlie St. Cloud” – it looked like just the type of movie I really enjoy and the previews looked great, but my track record has been so poor, that I just wasn’t sure……..but, I gave in and went to see it today.  As I was getting my ticket, I over heard a group behind me talking about how much they were looking forward to the movie and a couple in their group said they have already seen it and can’t wait to see it again!  Good sign – I was feeling comfortable with my decision!!!

The movie stars Zac Efron – you know, “High School Musical” – in what I believe is his first serious film.  Efron plays the title role, a sailing enthusiast who lives with his little brother and mother in a sleepy little coastal town in the Pacific Northwest.  He is just graduating from high school with a scholarship and dreams for a bright and successful future.  Until tragedy strikes and changes his life forever.  As time goes on, he has to decide whether to honor a promise made to his little brother, Sam, or a chance at love and discovery of why he was given a second chance at life during the horrible accident that took Sam.

The story is touching, warm, and endearing.  Efron does a decent job in his role – not oscar worthy, but not bad.  Charlie Tahan, who plays Sam, was sweet and charismatic.  Amanda Crew is well cast as Tess Carroll, an old school friend of Charlie’s that comes back into his life.  In two smaller, but important parts, are Ray Liotta, as the paramedic who revives Charlie in the accident, and Kim Basinger, as Charlie and Sam’s mother.

The movie was a little slow in spots – they could have either beefed up the story a little or cut it down some.  But it was good.  I felt a part of the character’s lives and would have liked to see the director cut parts of the fluff and add-on to the end to show more of how everything turned out — although, they did have flashes of that during the credits.

I really enjoyed this movie.  I’ll take some points off for the pace, but over all, I rate it a solid A-.  It was a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon and restored my faith in my choice of movies!

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