Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 30
  2. Negative: 12 out of 30
Watch On
  1. A delicate film - not flimsy, but fragile - that holds together on the strength of Efron's physical presence and performance.
  2. 70
    The vehicle may get a little jacked up along the way, but its passenger arrives in style: The kid's a star.
  3. The byplay between Efron and newcomer Tahan as his brother has a warmth and intimacy that establish the film's tone. The performances carry the film.
  4. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    Religious overtones, however, could make this the rare mainstream feature that connects with the faith-based entertainment market.
  5. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    This handsomely shot melodrama has a twist too peculiar to dismiss as some two-bit Nicholas Sparks weepie.
  6. 50
    The movie's central gimmick isn't enough, and when more supernatural twists that don't play by the movie's own fantasy rules kick in, it lost me.
  7. 50
    One thing that defies debate: Zac Efron is going places as an actor of value. But he deserves better movies than Charlie St. Cloud.
  8. 50
    The film is memorable mainly for attractive people sailing and smooching against an attractive backdrop. There's no urgency behind all the preening.
  9. 50
    Guilt, grief and the struggle to move on are big themes, but unfortunately, director Burr Steers and his script writers aren't interested in exploring them.
  10. 50
    Charlie St. Cloud is primarily a vehicle to prove the actor can do more than dance and sing. It's more of a demo reel for Efron than a movie. His predominant fan base, though, won't mind a bit.
  11. Reviewed by: Vadim Rizov
    The surprises really do surprise but often because they're remarkably stupid and poorly explained.
  12. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    The movie tries to capture the crushing weight of loss, but between the insipid pop tunes and the repetitive shots cutting away to a lighthouse on a scenic outcropping, it feels more like a film version of a condolence card.
  13. The surreal thing is, Zac Efron can't do despair.
  14. Though the soundtrack comes on kind of heavy, the cinematography (by Enrique Chediak) has a beautiful clarity. Yorick's skull or not, Charlie St. Cloud is no Shakespearean drama, but the film should prove to be another solid stepping stone for Efron on his way to a long adult career.
  15. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    This ode to "moving on" from grief packs so little genuine emotion that it will touch only the most susceptible of viewers.
  16. Though it was directed by Burr Steers, Charlie St. Cloud feels more like a misguided collaboration among Nicholas Sparks, M. Night Shyamalan and Billy Graham.
  17. Cue those weepy violins. Indeed, you get everything you'd expect from this mostly saccharine melodrama.
  18. For now, Efron remains an unrealized dream and Charlie St. Cloud an unrealized movie, though judging from the "ooohhs" and "awwwws" from the audience, for his core tween-girl fans, that's more than enough.
  19. It's more like a shelved episode of "Touched by An Angel." The sappy script is a disservice to the naturally effervescent Efron, whose character is so mopey he makes Robert Pattinson seem like a song-and-dance man.
  20. Director Burr Steers milks them dry, like an overeager farmer at milking time, which is a paradox since this is the wettest picture of 2010, what with the sea spray and Efron's tear ducts and the general metaphysical mist.
  21. 38
    It has no pulse, no apparent breath.
  22. Reviewed by: John DeVore
    Ultimately, the reason Charlie St. Cloud loses its momentum is because a love triangle between a grieving man, a beautiful woman from his past, and a spectral shade is just too strange.
  23. 38
    Clumsily incorporates elements of "Ghost," "The Sixth Sense," and "Field of Dreams."
  24. Charlie St. Cloud, like its star Zac Efron, is a gorgeous, unblemished thing. Both would be much improved with a tiny flaw or two.
  25. 30
    The scenes in which Charlie plays catch with the ghost of his Red Sox-happy brother are only the most mawkish in a movie whose every element is calculated to set a 12-year-old girl's heart thumping.
  26. The film doesn't just fail, it actually gets sillier by the minute.
  27. 25
    Some bad movies should carry a leper's bell to warn off ticket buyers. Such a contagion is Charlie St. Cloud, a load of mawkish swill starring Zac Efron (bereft of the talent he showed in "Me and Orson Welles").
  28. What "serious" means for young actors, as we know from Miley Cyrus's "The Last Song," is maudlin, and Charlie St. Cloud is no exception.
  29. 25
    A maudlin and unintentionally hilarious romantic weepie.
  30. 20
    You are not, in a movie like this, supposed to think too much; you are supposed to be transported beyond skepticism on a wave of pure, tacky feeling. Instead, in this case, you drown in sentimental, ghoulish nonsense.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 42 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 13
  2. Negative: 4 out of 13
  1. Sep 27, 2011
    I could have given 2 more points if "Charlie St. Cloud" knew what morale it was going to present. Guess it didn't do its homework...
  2. Dec 31, 2014
    This is a very clever story portrayed by talented actors. A very sentimental film allowing you to grow attached to the individual charactersThis is a very clever story portrayed by talented actors. A very sentimental film allowing you to grow attached to the individual characters and really sympathise with them. On a whole a fabulous movie. Full Review »
  3. Aug 24, 2014
    This is a powerful, touching, different kind of movie that starts strong, continues like that almost all the way to the finish, but in the endThis is a powerful, touching, different kind of movie that starts strong, continues like that almost all the way to the finish, but in the end something just happens (well, for me it felt like that since I'm not into romantic, happy conclusions). Still an awesome movie.

    For some reason, even though I've never seen him on screen before now, I've never put a lot of faith in Zac Efron's acting abilities. I stand corrected. At least in this movie, he did an outstanding job.

    Not only is he pleasing to the eye, but his portrayal of Charlie, a young man wounded to the core after playing a part in his beloved younger brother's death, is amazing. He cries, he's agitated, he's withdrawn from real life.

    "The more I'm in your world, the less I can be in his."

    That single line sums up Charlie's life after his it was crashed and smashed - and brought back from the other side.

    There are some heavy themes here, but they are not underlined or overused. They are there, they live and breathe right alongside Charlie, and in the end he has to make a choice. Even his relationship with Tess is pretty good in the beginning (I just didn't like the smoochy ending, is all).

    Well acted, well written, and perfectly executed film all in all. The music, the colors, the scenery, and the characters fit in there and blended into a perfect story.

    It's not that much about the paranormal (although I loved it for that as well) than it is about an ability to let go of someone you love. About making a promise - and then breaking it.
    Full Review »