Original release: July 30, 2010
Running time: 100 minutes
Director: Burr Steers
Writers: Craig Pearce, Ben Sherwood
Cast: Zac Efron, Kim Basinger, Ray Liotta, Amanda Crew, Charlie Tahan, Dave Franco, Augustus Prew
We go through life picking up so many things along the way that keep us grounded here and give meaning to an otherwise meaningless existence. Letting it all go is very last thing we do.
Based on the novel of the same name by Ben Sherwood, this beautifully made film brings together the idea of doing just that; living life and letting go.
When Charlie (Zac Efron) loses his little brother Sam (Charlie Tahan) in a car accident, it destroys him and changes his life. He gives up his Stanford University scholarship and his passion for sailing and becomes a recluse in the town where he was once a bright star with big hopes. He chooses to work as a caretaker in a graveyard and seems more at ease chasing geese than conversing with people.
After Charlie’s brush with death he believes he can see Sam and he keeps a promise he made to him. He meets him every evening in the woods near the graveyard to play catch. When Charlie’s former classmate Tess (Amanda Crew) starts to take an interest in him, he’s torn between a life he can have and the promise he made to Sam and has to make a choice but each choice involves letting something go.
It’s a beautifully made film and has the right balance between drama and supernatural mystery that kept me hooked until the revelation at the end. Kim Basinger and Ray Liotta, although they don’t have a lot of screen time are very good in their roles, but the movie really belongs to Zac Efron and Charlie Tahan who have great chemistry together and I was left impressed by the depth of emotions they each display in their roles.
Augustus Prew in a supporting role is also fantastic as Charlie’s friend Alistair who accepts that he’s a little bit different. It’s what a good friend is for; they take you at your best and worst and are there when you need them the most.
There are many scenes which went beyond what I expected from this film and one of them is the love scene which takes place in the cemetery. As night falls, the lovers are illuminated against the moonlight in magnificent close-ups reminiscent to many of the movie classics I used to watch as a kid.
Aside from that though, what I really appreciate about Charlie St. Cloud is the way it handles the idea of learning to let go to even the most precious things in our lives. With it’s thoughtful script, beautiful cinematography and impressive performances, it’s a film that remains one of my favourites from 2010.
The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.
You can find his music on Soundcloud .