MOVIE RATING: 3.5 stars (B)
Sometimes you have to steer clear of the crowd, and with Charlie St. Cloud (2010), that’s what I have to do. While both moviegoers and film critics generally panned this movie, I think they missed the mark on this one. While it may not be edgy or completely original, both its star Zac Efron and the film try to go places that so few movies dare to. To some degree, Charlie St. Cloud is like Field of Dreams (1989). You have to buy into it’s nearly ludicrous concept of the story being told in both the real world and in another world, namely purgatory or some other realm where the spirits of dead people come to life. I’m not really giving anything away because the concept is right there in the trailer and early on in the movie.
Director Burr Steers had a challenging job bringing this story to the screen, but I think he assembled a good cast and a good team to execute his vision. It’s been awhile since we’ve since Kim Basinger on screen in anything significant. Her role as Charlie’s mother is slight, but I enjoyed what little we got of her. Augustus Prew plays a fun sidekick character, and I liked Charlie Tahan as the younger St. Cloud brother, Sam. Rounding out the supporting cast is Donal Logue and Ray Liotta, two under utilized actors. I’m not really a fan of Amanda Crew as Charlie’s love interest, Tess, but she does what she needs to.
Yes, the movie is a bit of a soap opera at times. And yes, it’s predictable at times. And yes, Efron over acts at times. But somehow I was able to get past all of that and connect with the heart of the story and its characters and the message they deliver. The cinematography is stunning, the production design beautiful, and overall, this is a story and world I liked visiting. You might just like it too if you give it a chance.
Check out details on this film and its Blu-ray presentation at Blu-ray.com.