The Death And Life Of Charlie St Cloud

The Death And Life Of Charlie St Cloud

Static Mass Rating: 5/5

Release date: February 7th 2011
Certificate (UK): 12
Running time: 95 minutes

Director: Burr Steers

Cast: Zac Efron, Charlie Tahan, Amanda Crew, Augustus Prew, Kim Basinger, Ray Liotta, Dave Franco

We go through life picking up so many things along the way which 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 just that; living life and letting go.

The Death And Life Of Charlie St Cloud

When Charlie (Efron) loses his little brother Sam (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; meeting him every evening in the woods near the graveyard to play catch. But his former classmate Tess (Crew) begins to take an interest in him and soon they are falling in love. Charlie becomes 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.

The Death And Life Of Charlie St Cloud

It’s really a beautifully made film and has exactly the right balance between drama and supernatural mystery. 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 I was extremely amazed at the depth of emotions he displays in this movie. He’s certainly come a long way since his High School Musical (2006) days; it’s a nice meaty role for a young actor and I’d be surprised if I see him playing someone 17 Again (2009)! His scenes with Charlie Tahan show both actors at their best and I hope to see much more from them in the future.


Deleted Scenes with Commentary

  • Workout
  • Alistair’s Toast
  • Red Dog Inn
  • Slider
  • Tink Fights Back
  • Tess in the Hospital
  • Remembering Sam

On Location With Zac Efron
Zac Efron, Leading Man
The In-Between World

On the Blu-ray are seven deleted scenes including a nice workout montage which I think they should have been left in the movie. It’s not very long, only 38 seconds, but I’m sure it’s something Zac’s fans would really enjoy! There’s an extremely beautiful and moving scene with Claire (Basinger) and Charlie remembering Sam. It would have come towards the end of the movie and I think it really should have stayed in because we don’t see much of Claire after Sam dies and this scene shows she doesn’t resent Charlie for what happened. It’s also very raw, yet tender, especially when she hugs him and she’s shaking with emotion.

The Death And Life Of Charlie St Cloud

There’s also a wonderful selection of featurettes which go behind-the-scenes with cast and crew to show how the movie was made and how they cope with Zac’s fans queuing up for a glimpse of him! The In-Between World is a look at the supernatural part of the story. Fans of the television show Medium will be excited to see the real Allison Dubois sharing some insight on real-life psychic abilities and what it’s like to be a medium.

Ultimately, what I love about this movie is its core message about learning to let go. As Ben Sherwood says:

“When I wrote the book, one of the core ideas is this notion and I can’t prove it, but I believe it, that sometimes when we hold on to people who are gone, it hurts us and it hurts them too.”

About Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

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.