Charlie St. Cloud (film)

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Charlie St. Cloud
Charlie st cloud poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Burr Steers
Produced by
Screenplay by Craig Pearce
Based on The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud 
by Ben Sherwood
Music by Rolfe Kent
Cinematography Enrique Chediak
Edited by Padraic McKinley
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • July 30, 2010 (2010-07-30)
Running time 99 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $44 million[1]
Box office $48,190,704

Charlie St. Cloud is a 2010 American romantic drama film based on Ben Sherwood's best-selling novel, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud published in 2004 by Bantam Books. The film is directed by Burr Steers and stars Zac Efron and Amanda Crew. The story is of Charlie St. Cloud's choice between keeping a promise he made to his brother, who died in a car accident, or going after the girl he loves. In some markets the film used the complete title of the book.


Charlie St. Cloud (Zac Efron) is a sailor who wins a professional boating race on his sailboat, the Splendid Splinter, along with his younger brother Sam (Charlie Tahan). He subsequently receives a sailing scholarship to Stanford University. Charlie graduates from Winslow High School and after getting home from his graduation ceremony, Charlie promises Sam that they will practice baseball together every day until he leaves for Stanford; at sunset when the “Bailey’s Yacht Club” ceremonial cannons sound. Later that night, Charlie was supposed to go to a graduation party with his friends, but his mother Claire (Kim Basinger) makes him babysit Sam while she picks up another shift at her job as a nurse.

When Sam is watching television, Charlie tries to sneak out and go to the party. But he is caught by Sam when he turns his headlights on, and Sam asks Charlie to drive him to his friend Tommy's house to watch the Red Sox game. At first Charlie refuses, but gives in when Sam makes compliments about his car. While driving, Charlie and Sam talk about Charlie's departure and horseplay until they get into a bad car accident at an intersection. Their car is rear ended by an SUV, forcing them into the path of a Mack truck in a T-bone collision. In the dark, during an out-of-body experience, Charlie hugs a badly wounded Sam and tries to reassure him that everything will be fine once he takes the blame for his actions.

Knowing that his injuries are fatal, Sam asks Charlie to never leave him alone again, saying that if he does, they will always be together as brothers. Just when Charlie promises they will always be together, a paramedic named Florio Ferrente (Ray Liotta) revives Charlie, who sobs in horror when he realizes that Sam has succumbed to his wounds and died in his arms. At Sam's funeral, a broken-hearted Charlie runs off after being unable to put Sam's baseball glove in the grave. After a heartbroken run through the neighboring woods, Charlie finds Sam's spirit and discovers that Sam can interact with him on the physical plane. After their reunion, Charlie fulfills Sam's dying wish by practicing baseball with him every day at sunset, in the canyon, after the sounding of the cannons.

Five years later, Charlie, who gave up his scholarship and mournful over Sam's loss, is now caretaker at Waterside Cemetery. During a trip into town, Charlie visits the boat docks and meets Tess Carroll (Amanda Crew), a sailor who is scheduled to sail solo around the world. The following day, Charlie runs into Florio Ferrente, the paramedic who saved his life. Ferrente is dying of cancer and questions Charlie if he ever wonders why he was saved and tells him there is a reason for his gift. Charlie returns to the cemetery and finds Tess injured tending her father's grave. He takes her back to his home to patch her up and they develop a relationship. Meanwhile, Sam begins to feel that he is being transparently erased from existence as a certain sign that Charlie is forgetting him when Charlie arrives late for their game of catch. However, Tess follows Charlie and he explains to her that the more he is in her world, the less he can be in Sam's.

Later, Charlie discovers that Tess had gone missing while sailing through a storm a few days earlier, revealing that Charlie could see her just like he could Sam. Ferrente's wife Carla comes to Charlie and tells him that Ferrente had died the previous night and to give him his St. Jude medal that he wore the night Charlie was revived. Charlie examines the pendant. After one of the evenings Charlie and Tess have together they play hide and seek. Tess sticks a note on the door which says "come find me" with a drawing of a boat under. Later on in the story this is seen as her asking Charlie to find her after the storm has washed her on shore but she is dying. It is then that Charlie realizes that Tess is not dead and that he has to find her to save her life.

Along with his friend Alistair and Tess's coach Tink, Charlie takes a boat to find Tess based on Charlie's instincts that he knows where she is due to what she told him and what he'd do himself. The following sunset, Charlie finally misses his game with Sam. As Charlie confesses his love for his departed sibling, Sam simply tells Charlie that he loves him back and takes off as a shooting star to point out Tess' location. The group finds Tess' wrecked boat along with her lying on the rocks. Charlie uses his body heat to keep both himself and Tess warm until the two are eventually found by a Coast Guard Jayhawk called in by Tink.

Charlie and Tess are taken to the hospital where Alistair tells Charlie that Tess had hypothermia and that he saved her. Later, Charlie purchases an old boat and asks Tess if she would like to take a ride with him. However, Tess fears him explaining that she had been having vivid dreams about them together. Charlie tells Tess that her dreams are memories and recites a quote from her dad's funeral that they had spoken about in her dreams. Charlie decides to resign from his job and goes into the forest to reminisce and say farewell to Sam, telling him they'll always be brothers and although he is unable to see him, Sam is there too and reveals that he's at peace, before Charlie leaves the forest with Tess. During the credits, Charlie and Tess finally sail around the world and say goodbye to the citizens of Quincy Harbor, Washington.



A bidding war for the film rights to the book by author Ben Sherwood broke out in April and May 2003, before the book was published.[2] Three studios competed for the rights.[2] Universal Studios and Marc Platt (Universal's president of production) won the right to make the book into a film, paying a reported $500,000 to $1 million for the rights (with that figure rising above $1 million if the film is made).[2] Ben Sherwood was guaranteed an executive producer credit on the film, and Universal Studios executive producer Donna Langley was assigned to the picture.[2] Joe Johnston was initially chosen to direct.[3]

Drafts for the script were written by James Schamus and Lewis Colick,[4][5] but the final script was written by Craig Pearce.[4][6] By March 2009, Johnston had been replaced as director by Burr Steers, and Platt had named himself as producer.[4][6] Steers helped polish the script.[6] The first lead performer cast in the film was Zac Efron, who turned down the lead role in Paramount Pictures' remake of Footloose to star in this film.[4][7][8] Pre-production had commenced by March 2009, with filming set to begin in July 2009.[4]

Training with Efron began in Vancouver, British Columbia, in July 2009,[9] and started production in Upstate New York July 2009 to October 5.[10] Actress Amanda Crew joined the film as Tess Carroll in July 2009,[11] and was shooting her scenes the following September.[12] Quite a few scenes in the film were shot in Gibsons, British Columbia, including a scene in the famous 'Beachcombers' restaurant.[13] Some of the film was also filmed at a Deep Cove school, Seycove Secondary School, in North Vancouver, B. C. Actress Kim Basinger agreed to play Louise St. Cloud (later Claire) in mid-August 2009.[6][14] Teen actor Chris Massoglia was signed in October 2009 to play a teenaged Sam St. Cloud, but never made it into the final film.[15][16][17]

Efron wrapped his scenes in late October 2009.[18]

Rolfe Kent wrote the score, with Tony Blondal orchestrating. It was recorded at Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California.


This is a list of music featured in the film but will not be included in the soundtrack


Reviews for Charlie St. Cloud have been mostly negative, with the film garnering a 27% approval rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, based on 70 reviews.[19] Nick Schager of Slant Magazine called Charlie St. Cloud "The schmaltzy spawn of The Sixth Sense."[20] Aaron Hills of the Village Voice praised the film, saying "This handsomely shot melodrama has a twist too peculiar to dismiss as some two-bit Nicholas Sparks weepie."[21]


  1. ^ Fritz, Ben (July 29, 2010). "Movie projector: 'Schmucks,' cats, dogs and Zac Efron will all open behind 'Inception'". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved July 30, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d Fleming, Michael (May 5, 2003). "U, Platt Triumph in Death Bid". Daily Variety. 
  3. ^ Fleming, Michael (July 15, 2008). "Platt Wanted at Universal". Daily Variety. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Fleming, Michael (March 25, 2009). "Face in the Cloud". Daily Variety. 
  5. ^ Fleming, Michael; Siegel, Tatiana (April 21, 2009). "Bale Answers the Bell". Daily Variety. 
  6. ^ a b c d Fleming, Michael (August 13, 2009). "Basinger Circles St. Cloud". Daily Variety. 
  7. ^ Fleming, Michael; Siegel, Tatiana (May 20, 2009). "Footloose Finds Star". Daily Variety. 
  8. ^ Zwecker, Bill. "March 26, 2009". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  9. ^ "Caught in the Act!". People. July 21, 2009. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  10. ^ Barnes, Brooks (October 5, 2009). "A High School Star Gives Ross a Boost". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Actress Sees St. Cloud Formation". The Hollywood Reporter. July 28, 2009. 
  12. ^ McNary, Dave (September 13, 2009). "Crew, Palicki to Star in Girl". Variety. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  13. ^ "More Zac Efron at "Flynn's Reach" (Molly's Reach) in Gibsons". Langley Times. October 30, 2009. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  14. ^ Fleming, Michael (August 12, 2009). "Actress to Play Thesp's Mother in Burr Steers Drama". Variety. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  15. ^ Kroll, Justin (October 21, 2009). "Players". Daily Variety. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  16. ^ As of October 25, 2009, the Internet Movie Database listed child actor Charlie Tahan playing the role of Sam. See: Charlie St. Cloud at the Internet Movie Database. Accessed 2009-10-25.
  17. ^ Memberto, Brad (October 30, 2009). "Cirque du Freak: Not Your Father's Vampires". Santa Ynez Valley News. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Couples Watch: Brody & Jayde, Justin & Jessica". People. October 26, 2009. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Charlie St. Cloud Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 30, 2010. 
  20. ^ "Charlie St. Cloud". Slant Magazine. Retrieved July 30, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Charlie St. Cloud, Starring Zac Efron's Abs". The Village Voice. Retrieved July 30, 2010. 

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