Parents' Guide to

Charlie St. Cloud

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Poignant Efron drama too intense for younger fans.

Movie PG-13 2010 100 minutes
Charlie St. Cloud Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 13 parent reviews

age 8+


By far, my most favorite and unforgettable Zac Efron movie. I so love his acting skills, in all of his movie. He gives justice on it. His acting is superb. I dont know, is it me who feels how sad this movie is? and at the same time really appreciates the love in it?? THIS DEFINITELY BE ONE ON MY FAVORITE LIST! ♥️

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 13+

Very dramatic; has deep messages and some scenes are intense

The movie is very interesting and intense. I’m one scene, the older brother gets in a car crash along with his younger brother which ends up killing the younger one. The story advances a few years and the older brother quit college and took a job in the graveyard. He meets a girl but later realizes he was hallucinating and the girl is in a near death situation in which he has to save her. Overall, it is a very good movie but it can get intense and dark, so I recommend it to teenagers.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (13):
Kids say (48):

Make no mistake: CHARLIE ST. CLOUD aspires to be a tearjerker. As such, it commits a few sins that most tearjerkers do, including milking its tragic setups and hinting at their arrival a little too heavily. It also shamelessly taps into Efron's pretty boy status; watch as the camera lingers on his worked-out chest and biceps when he removes his shirt in a pivotal scene near the end. Nevertheless, the movie is surprisingly poignant -- and for that, there's Efron to thank. This heartthrob can act. He's especially disarming paired with Charlie Tahan, who plays Sam. The film does an excellent job of establishing their rapport immediately; in fact, they're so believable as brothers that when Sam dies and Charlie suffers plaintively, it feels like a punch to the gut.

Unfortunately, Efron and his love interest, played by Amanda Crew, don't have much chemistry. And, as Charlie and Sam's mom, Basinger disappears too quickly and completely after an interesting cameo. Despite this, and a somewhat fuzzy spin on the afterlife, Charlie St. Cloud manages to move. It may even make you cry.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: July 30, 2010
  • On DVD or streaming: November 9, 2010
  • Cast: Amanda Crew, Kim Basinger, Zac Efron
  • Director: Burr Steers
  • Studio: Universal Pictures
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 100 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: language including some sexual references, an intense accident scene and some sensuality
  • Last updated: October 8, 2022

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate