Charlie St. Cloud

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Charlie St. Cloud
Charlie st cloud poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBurr Steers
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based onThe Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud
by Ben Sherwood
Music byRolfe Kent
CinematographyEnrique Chediak
Edited byPadraic McKinley
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • July 30, 2010 (2010-07-30)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$44 million[1]
Box office$48.1 million

Charlie St. Cloud is a 2010 American 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 is a sailor who wins a boating race on his sailboat, the Splendid Splinter, along with his younger brother Sam. In 2005, he receives a sailing scholarship to Stanford University. Charlie graduates from Winslow High School and after returning from his graduation ceremony, Charlie promises Sam that they will practice baseball every day until he leaves for Stanford. That night Charlie is supposed to go to a graduation party with his friends, but his mother makes him babysit Sam while she picks up another shift at her job.

When Sam watches television, Charlie tries sneaking out to the party. He is caught by Sam, who asks Charlie to drive him to his friend Tommy's house. Charlie and Sam get into a car accident. During an out-of-body experience, Charlie hugs a badly wounded Sam and reassures him that everything will be fine.

Knowing his injuries are fatal, Sam asks Charlie to never leave him alone, saying that if so they will always be together. As Charlie promises, a paramedic named Florio Ferrente revives Charlie; Sam has died in his arms. At Sam's funeral, Charlie runs off after being unable to put Sam's baseball glove in the grave. After a run through the woods, Charlie finds Sam's spirit and discovers that Sam can interact with him on the physical plane. Charlie fulfills Sam's dying wish by practicing baseball with him every day at sunset.

Five years later, Charlie, who gave up his scholarship, is a caretaker at Waterside Cemetery. At the cemetery, he speaks with Sully, an old friend who died in the Marines. During a trip into town, Charlie visits the boat docks and meets Tess Carroll, a sailor planning to sail solo around the world. The following day, Charlie runs into Florio. Florio is dying of cancer and asks Charlie if he ever wonders why he was saved. Charlie returns to the cemetery and finds Tess injured tending her father's grave. He takes her to his home to patch her up and they develop a relationship. Sam begins feeling that he is being erased from existence because Charlie is forgetting him when Charlie arrives late for their game. Tess follows Charlie and he explains to her that the more he is in her world, the less he is in Sam's.

Charlie discovers that Tess went missing while sailing through a storm a few days earlier; Charlie has been seeing her just like he can Sam. Florio's wife Carla tells Charlie that Florio died the previous night. During 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 beneath it. Charlie realizes that Tess is not dead and that he must find her.

Along with his friend Alistair and Tess's coach Tink, Charlie takes a boat to find her. The following sunset, Charlie misses his game with Sam. As Charlie confesses his love for his departed sibling, Sam tells Charlie that he loves him back and moves on from the living world. He appears to Charlie as a shooting star in the sky to reveal Tess' location. The group finds Tess' wrecked boat along with her lying on the rocks. Charlie uses his body heat to keep Tess warm until they are found by the Coast Guard.

Alistair tells Charlie that Tess had hypothermia and he saved her. Later, Charlie purchases an old dilapidated sail boat from a family-friend and asks Tess if she would like to take a ride with him. However, Tess fears him explaining that she had vivid dreams about them together. Charlie tells Tess that her dreams are memories and recites a quote from her father's funeral that they spoke about in her dreams. Charlie resigns from his job and goes into the forest to say farewell to Sam, telling him they will always be brothers; although he is unable to see him, Sam is there and reveals that he is at peace. Sometime in the near future, Charlie and Tess complete repairs to the sail boat and set off to sail around the world.



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


Charlie St. Cloud received generally negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 27% based on 124 reviews with an average rating of 4.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Zac Efron gives it his all, but Charlie St. Cloud is too shallow and cloying to offer much more than eye candy for his fans."[19] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 37 out of 100 based on 30 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[20] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[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). "Scent of a Twilight Star". 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. Archived from the original on August 13, 2010. 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 on IMDb. 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 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  21. ^ "CinemaScore". Archived from the original on 2017-09-16.

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