REVIEW: The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud

ZAC Efron has become a teen pin-up around the world thanks to the phenomenally successful High School Musical franchise. Having bid a tearful farewell to his all-singing, all-dancing role as Troy Bolton, the 22-year-old actor has continued to court the sa

ZAC Efron has become a teen pin-up around the world thanks to the phenomenally successful High School Musical franchise.

Having bid a tearful farewell to his all-singing, all-dancing role as Troy Bolton, the 22-year-old actor has continued to court the same audience with wholesome, family-oriented roles in 17 Again and Hairspray.

Richard Linklater's 2008 drama Me & Orson Welles was a baby step towards more weighty fare and THE DEATH AND LIFE OF CHARLIE ST CLOUD (12A) continues that gradual transition to serious leading man.

Based on a novel by Ben Sherwood, Burr Steers's supernatural love story gifts Efron a spooky sixth sense.


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He sees dead people - more specifically, the spirit of the younger brother (Charlie Tahan) who died in his arms following a car accident.

Consumed with grief, the character puts his entire life on hold to remain in limbo with the spirit.

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The point is abundantly clear, and slathered in sticky sweet sentiment: love never dies.

The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud is a valentine to the leading man and the picturesque locations.

Efron looks beautiful in close-up with saltwater coursing down his softly lit cheeks as Craig Pearce and Lewis Colick's screenplay veers between the metaphysical and the mawkish.

Augustus Prew is hilariously miscast, proving comic relief for an entirely different film, and the histrionics of the final half hour strain credibility.

Steers's film hovers in a similar limbo between lifeless, emotionally manipulative tosh and a genuinely moving study of grief.

Rating: 5/10

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