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:: Charlie St. Cloud

There are some film-goers out there that will give this film a wide berth because of the inclusion of Disney prodigy Zac Efron in the cast. But all that shows is how a narrow minded they are, because Efron has certainly moved on since the ‘High School Musical´days. This great fantasy/drama gives Efron a real chance to show people just how good his acting ability has become.

Efron plays Charlie St. Cloud a young man troubled by the fact that he was behind the wheel when a car accident (that wasn’t his fault) killed his younger brother, Sam (Charlie Tahan). Five years after the accident and Charlie rarely talks to his mother, Claire (Kim Basinger), has quit his promising yachting career and now works in a cemetery alongside his best friend Alistair (Augustus Prew). But the one thing that that sets Charlie apart from everything else is the fact that he now has the ability to see and communicate with the dead including a daily meeting with Sam. Charlie’s chance to move along comes in the form of Tess (Amanda Crew), a former school-friend who is about to embark on a round-the-world journey.

I have to admit that I was surprised that director, Burr Steers was able to pull off this film so well. His last effort, ’17 Again’ was a promising enough comedy but I was curious to see how he would go handling a fantasy/drama genre film like this one. Some parts a little sappy but for the most part Steers keeps the film on the straight and narrow and manages to get the best of out his actors while successfully mixing the fantasy element with some realistic drama.

As I previously mentioned one of the most impressive things about ‘Charlie St. Claire’ is the huge step-up by Efron. He is no longer a lightweight and tackles a role that demands a lot of emotion head on. He has become a man in this film and his acting is one of the things that make the film so enjoyable to watch. He is also well supported by Charlie Tahan who announces himself as one of Hollywood’s most promising young actors. Amanda Crew holds her own as the love interest while Augustus Prew also shows some skills as Efron’s side-kick.

While ‘Charlie St. Cloud’ may not be the film of the year it is certainly dramatic and well-written. If you haven’t read the novel then there are a few surprises that will catch you off guard. Burr Steers does a great job bringing this story to the big screen while Efron is impressive in the role that allows him to shake off the teenage-tag. An enjoyable film that is guaranteed to awaken your emotions.