Charlie St. Cloud book/movie Review

Charlie St. Cloud:
In a snug New England fishing village, Charlie St. Cloud tends the lawns and monuments of an ancient cemetery where his younger brother, Sam, is buried. After surviving the car accident that claimed his brother's life, Charlie is graced with an extraordinary gift: He can see, talk to, and even play catch with Sam's spirit. Into this magical world comes Tess Carroll, a captivating woman training for a solo sailing trip around the globe. Fate steers her boat into a treacherous storm that propels her into Charlie's life. Their beautiful and uncommon connection leads to a race against time and a choice between death and life, between the past and the future, between holding on and letting go - and the discovery that miracles can happen if we simply open our hearts.
This was an OK book and was made into an OK movie. A little bit 6th Sense meets The Notebook. When I was reading it and got to the twist in the story I was spitting mad. (Just ask the hubby- I was reading in bed and started yelling at the book) Don't worry- I got over it by the end. This book did made me cry a couple times, and it is emotional material. Charlie has a lot of survivor's guilt because he lived (or was brought back to life) after a car accident. I did prefer the fireman's story line in the book, but understand why that would be too tragic to put on the big screen in an otherwise heavy story. Also, I preferred the time-line in the book. In the movie, Charlie was 18 when they got in the accident and on his way to a party. It's much more bitter-sweet in the book- he is 15 and driving the neighbor's car to take Sam to a baseball game. They have the dog in the car too, which (of course)  I liked better about the book. It was just really sweet that the boy and his dog appeared every sunset to hang out with Charlie. Anyway, 10 years goes by in the book, and in the movie it's only 5 years.
The romance was more tangible in the book as well, but was pretty well done for the movie. Tess was more vibrant in the book, but was so-so in the movie. I do wish that the book and movie could have had the same ending. (It pretty much is... with one exception) In the book, Charlie gets to see what Sam would have become as a grown man, but in the book, they say "No one gets to see what would have been". It was sad, because I thought that was one of the most touching scenes in the book. 
The casting:
For Sam- perfection. The kid they cast for Sam nailed the role. I loved him!
Tess- meh, so-so. I think she was under-whelming. Her character is so spunky and strong in the book and I didn't get enough of that in the movie.
Charlie- ugh. Oh Zac Efron. He was not the best choice for this role. My favorite critic review of him is "The surreal thing is, Zac Efron can't do despair. He plays it by staring. Blankly. And by not smiling. Blankly." That is pretty darn accurate. He's not good at not being happy. I mean- he sure is pretty, but not good at sad. 
My overall rating for both is "Just OK", so probably 2.5/5. I didn't dislike either, but wouldn't run out and demand that my friends read/watch them. 
Here's a little snippet from the movie for you:


Liz said...

That's a little disappointing! I was always curious about seeing this movie--now I might just stay away from it. I don't really need to read anything depressing anyway.

P.S.>You were enjoying Blameless?? (sigh) Maybe I'll have to give it another go....

AshleaD said...

I would read the book over watching the movie. You get more emotion from the book. Just picture Zac Efron while reading it- you still get the dreamy blue eyes, but without the mediocre acting.

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