Charlie St. Cloud: The Book vs. The Movie

I recently checked out the movie trailer for the upcoming film Charlie St. Cloud, starring Zac Efron and due in theaters this summer. It looked so intriguing, I started digging around to find out more about the book it was based on — The Death & Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood. Based on the trailer & film synopsis, it seems as if the movie takes quite a few deviations from the source material. I haven’t read the novel myself, but got a quick summary via Wikipedia (spoilers).

Here is the official film synopsis:

Based on an acclaimed novel, Charlie St. Cloud is a romantic drama starring Zac Efron as a young man who survives an accident that lets him see the world in a unique way. In this emotionally charged story, he begins a romantic journey in which he embraces the dark realities of the past while discovering the transformative power of love.

And here is the official synopsis for the novel:

The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud tells the haunting story of a young man who narrowly survives a terrible car wreck that kills his little brother. Years later, the brothers’ bond remains so strong that it transcends the normal boundaries separating life and death. Charlie St. Cloud lives in a snug New England fishing village. By day he tends the lawns and monuments of the ancient cemetery where his younger brother, Sam, is buried. Graced with an extraordinary gift after surviving the accident, he can still see, talk, and even play catch with Sam’s spirit. But townsfolk whisper that Charlie has never recovered from his loss.

Into his carefully ordered life comes Tess Carroll, a captivating, adventuresome woman training for a solo sailing trip around the globe. Fate steers her boat into a treacherous storm that blows her back to harbor, to a charged encounter with Charlie, and to a surprise more overwhelming than the violent sea itself. Charlie and Tess discover a beautiful and uncommon connection that leads to a race against time and a desperate choice between death and life, between the past and the future, between holding on and letting go.

For those of you who’ve read the novel, check out the trailer below & tell us what you think about the apparent differences:

12 thoughts on “Charlie St. Cloud: The Book vs. The Movie

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  1. I’ve not read the novel but now I want to after watching this trailer! The movie looks good in my opinion. I’ll wait to see it when it comes out on dvd, this will give me time to read the novel too. : )


    1. This book found me, I didn’t find it. I haven’t been able to finish a novel in the past ten years since I became a busy mom of three. I picked up this book on a ferry on my way camping and wasn’t able to put it down. It was very heartwarming. All the romantics out there must read the book. I just finished it this morning and saw a trailer for the movie this afternoon. (I hadn’t heard of either one a week ago.) The trailer seems very different, for one, Charlie doesn’t sail with his brother, and his relationship with Tess takes place somewhere else, this is a significant change to the story. I’m sure the movie will be fine, but the book was amazing.

      1. the book i thought was better then the movie, i couldnt put the book down!!! i usually dont like to read so this was huge 🙂 but i wish the movie ending was the book’s ending! thats it

  2. That just broke my heart! Some books/movies should come with warnings, not for explicit language, but something like, “Parents of young children may experience uncontrollable bawling and/or the compulsion to overprotect their kids!”

  3. This trailer looked amazing! It makes me want to run out and read this book asap! Looks like it would be a tear jerker for sure!

  4. This novel was AMAZING. I saw the trailer, found out it was based on a novel, and decided to read it before it hit theaters in the US. After seeing the trailer after reading the whole story, I feel as though there are definite deviations you can’t see just by reading Wikipedia. I hope that the movie is just as good.

  5. I LOVE the book! The trailer seems to leave a lot out but of course there is more to see. I just hope the movie lives up to the book.

  6. The trailer seems to be very different from the book. A few major ideas, the book is by Charlie at age 28.. which it’s quite apparent that he’s much younger in the movie. When his brother dies, Charlie was only 15 and his brother 12. It looks like a much bigger age difference. The relationship between Tess doesn’t look like how it was portrayed in the book, but I don’t want to give it away for those who haven’t read it. I sincerely hope the movie lives up to the book, it was amazing. I think I’ll be very disappointed if it doesn’t follow the same general story line. We shall see!

    1. I agree. I just finished the book about an hour ago haha and it seems differnt. For instance charlie lives with his mom not alone and he doesn’t work at the cemetery which is where he originally meets tess. Tess also seem to have a different character persona……

  7. I for one can not wait to read the book and see the movie. Something to keep in mind, movies are NEVER as good as the books. NEVER. But the trailer for Charlie St Cloud looked great. Hopefully I can check it out this weekend.

  8. i just finished the book, and decided to watch the movie afterwards. the book was AMAZING, but sadly the movie didnt really compare. there are many differences and i think the book was overall, better than the film.

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