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033: Charlie St. Cloud feat. Taylor Phillips

Maximilian Rivera November 8, 2016
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By Max Rivera | @MaxRiveraFilm

Premise: After surviving the accident that killed his brother Sam, Charlie is given the gift of seeing the dead. But Charlie must choose between a life with the girl he’s fallen for, or the brother who was taken from him.
​Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 27%

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Ever watch a movie that should, by all accounts, be really bad? Or maybe you’ve seen a film that just needs a few changes, and it could be a real winner. Charlie St. Cloud (2010) falls somewhere between those lines. 

Starring Zac Efron, Amanda Crew, Donal Logue, Kim Basinger, and Ray Liotta, this film is not short on talent, that’s for sure.  With an interesting enough premise based off of The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood, this film had every right to be good. 

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So where does this film err? As a complete piece, the film lacks subtlety. It spares no punches, and spends plenty of moments dropping thesis statements. Sure, once or twice could work, but it becomes very routine.

However, we found ourselves enjoying this cheesy film — which is always refreshing. The acting was solid, a bit on the nose at points, but delivered with heart none-the-less. Zac Efron brings the charm and depth we missed from him in The Lucky One, and he also has a magnetic chemistry with the lovely Amanda Crew. 
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There are some missteps, for sure. A terrible score and lackluster musical tracks can be distracting, for one thing. The film is also not brave enough to rest on drama, and really take us to the darkest depths of Charlie’s life. 

That’s one thing we’re really missing here — and it does detract from the picture. But where Charlie St. Cloud could have been a great film, it’s merely an enjoyable-yet-goofy romantic-coming-of-age story with a supernatural twist.

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Our idea for a fix? Bring in some more scenes of Charlie’s downfall. Really show us how bad things are for the guy before you reveal his ghost brother. Let the loneliness marinade into our hearts for a bit. After that, you simply need a few The Fray songs in here, and drop a few of the cheesy thesis statements.

Sure, it’s flawed, but Charlie St. Cloud will still appeal to fans of romance, fans of Zac Efron, and fans of Amanda Crew (that’s me).

Max is a marketing copywriter by day, filmmaker and screenwriter by night. He resides in Charlotte, NC, and loves his dogs, watching movies, building LEGO sets, and eating food. Lots of food.You can find Max at his personal website and twitter.