Based on the novel by Ben Sherwood, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud.
Charlie St. Cloud, played by Zac Efron, is a boy with dreams, aspirations, and a close bond with his younger brother Sam. However, after "borrowing" a car leads to a major accident, that bond is put to the ultimate test; Charlie's near-death experience leaves him able to see ghosts, including his brother's, who did not survive the crash. Ridden with guilt and clinging to an old promise, Charlie grows up to be the caretaker to his hometown's cemetery, so that he can spend time with his brother's ghost every single afternoon. But when a yachtswoman named Tess Carroll enters his life, who may be a greater enigma than she first appears to be, Charlie must choose between clinging to his past or embracing the future.
This work provides examples of:
- Adaptation Deviation: Like so many book-based films (mostly minor ones), only the general plot of the novel remains consistent with the movie, with a heavy abundance of differences such as the setting being moved from Marblehead, Massachusetts to Quincy, Washington (for budgetary reasons) and Sam being de aged to a year younger than his literary counterpart.
- Adult Fear: Two children take a car for a joyride, one ends up hospitalized, and the other doesn't survive.
- I See Dead People
- The Reveal: Tess was in a yachting accident, and it's her spirit that Charlie has been talking with. Her body is still alive, but will perish if Charlie cannot find her in time.
- Sadistic Choice: In the end, Charlie must choose between stopping his search for Tess to keep his promise to his brother, or saving Tess at the cost of never seeing his brother's spirit again. He ultimately picks the latter.