Saturday, May 24, 2014

Movie Review: Charlie St. Cloud

Title: Charlie St. Cloud
Genre: drama, family, loss, sailing, romance
Author: Universal Pictures
My Rating: ****
Official Rating: PG-13 for language including some sexual references, an intense accident scene, and some sensuality
Age Group: 16+

Summary: Charlie St. Cloud and his little brother are close. Like, really close. So when Charlie and Sam are hit by a semi, and only Charlie survives the crash, he's devastated. Until he realizes that he can still see and talk to his brother. Of course, he's the only one who can, but that's a minor detail. Life is bearable, even if it goes no where, until Charlie meets a girl. As she draws him away from his little brother, both Sam and Charlie are confused and upset. But when Charlie realizes he might have to give up his little brother to save the girl he loves, well, that's not so simple.

Word of Warning
  • Language: 
    • older brother calls younger one a punk (teasingly)
    • older brother warns his little brother to "look out for cops" while they are driving
    • geese cause trouble at a grave yard where they "crap" on things and apparently have corrosive s***
    •  someone is called a "dick"
    • "son of a b****" 
    • someone stops short of saying f***
  • Sexual references:
    • a friend tries to set his buddy up with a girl out of kindness, then adds that she's "saucy" and "promiscuous"
    • a young boy refers to a girl as "hot" and asks if there are any swimsuit shots of her
    • a young boy confesses that he lied when he told his older brother he had kissed a girl
    • a young man kisses his sweetheart's shoulder tenderly
    • a passionate kiss is cut short, another is not (it's more slow than passionate)
    •  silhouettes slip off clothes (we only see the guy lose his shirt, but are lead to believe the rest follows), kiss, and sexual intimacy is implied
    • When Charlie shows up late one morning, his friend jokes, "Please say you got laid at least."
    • Charlie is shown shirtless
  • Violence:
    • Sailing boat tips over, potentially harming the sailors
    • Car crash: car is rear ended, then a semi smashes it from the side and we know the younger brother is on the side it hits. The screen goes black, then we see a shot of the two brothers covered in blood with the younger one whimpering "I hurt so much." Later, a brief shot of the wrecked car is shown with Sam's baseball hat inside. There is at least one flashback to the crash.
    • Ambulance: paramedic is shown using a defibrillator on a shirtless Charlie more than once, he is assumed dead at first. Charlie revives, realizes Sam is dead, is understandably upset.
    • Charlie tries to attack geese with a plane, resulting in them dumping all over and him diving into the water for safety.
    • A brief fight in a bar (not due to drinking), ending with a punch to the face.
    • Blood on a girl's head.
    •  Charlie is trapped and almost drowns (the scene is very intense). His head/body are slammed against rocks.
    • Charlie lies next to an injured Tess, opens her jacket and shirt, and presses himself against her to keep her warm. I put this here and not under sexual references because it was a dramatic, not sexual, scene.
    • A character is shown with a bloody face and blood on the side of his head.
  • Other:
    • Charlie sneaks out when he is supposed to be watching his brother, intending to go to a party.
    • Charlie is able to see dead people and talk to them.
    • Because of his job, and ability to talk to certain dead people, many scenes take place in the graveyard.
    • A comment is made about digging up a dead guy because police suspect his wife in his death.
    • A man has cancer and says his only consolation is that he has lived a full life.
    • Brief mention of werewolves as a joke. It falls flat.
    • Legal drinking.
    • Charlie is hit between the legs by a baseball and collapses.
    • Charlie has burn marks from the defibrillator.
    • Sam claims he will become nothing if Charlie forgets him or moves on. This turns out not to be the case when he actually looks quite happy and disappears.
    • For a portion of the movie, it is assumed that a character formerly thought to be living is dead. Simply put, this "revelation" (which is false) is a little unnerving.
    • Charlie steals a boat with the help of his friend.
My Thoughts
I put off watching this movie because I thought the premise sounded really strange. A guy in a car crash who finds out he can see and talk to dead people? What? Then I finally watched it and realized how beautiful it is. Charlie's relationship with his brother is so great, and Charlie's character struggling to move on from the death of his brother but still remember him is hard to watch simply because it's such a real challenge.
The best part, I think, is that the only time anything good happens to Charlie is when he does something for someone else with no intention of it coming back around to himself. As he begins to realize that holding onto his brother is selfish and not something he does for Sam, he is faced with a hard decision: risk everything for someone who might possibly be alive, or keep living in his comfortable little world. When he dives into frigid waters to quite literally risk his life for another, the message seems to come home at least.
Unfortunately, it's a message so many movies are without.

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