CHARLIE ST. CLOUD
NOTE: This spoiler was written and submitted by Rachelle.
The film starts off with a boat race. We see Charlie St. Cloud and his brother Sam, taking major risks that pay off as they win, just beating two boys (who are obviously richer than they are.) The boys joke with Charlie telling him that they will beat him at Stanford in the fall. We see a girl (who came in third) being comforted by her father that she will win the next one.
The scene then goes to Charlie driving his mother and Sam to his graduation from high school. Charlie talks about maybe taking a year off to work so his mother won’t have to work double shifts so he can go to Stanford. (He got a sailing scholarship but they’re still to poor to afford the rest of tuition.) Charlie’s mother says she doesn’t mind and wants him to go to college the upcoming fall.
We see Charlie and his friends graduate. We see the two boys and the girl who Charlie beat in the race. Charlie’s friends run over to him and playfully mess with Sam after graduation. They talk about how the coming night is their last chance to party as Charlie’s two best friends are going to join the army.
Charlie is on the porch waiting for Sam. Sam comes and Charlie yells at him for being late and wasting his time. Charlie than promises Sam if he is on time every day at “sunset cannons” (cannons that go off when the sun descends) than Charlie will teach him to play baseball. We see their mother leave for work and she puts Charlie on “Sam duty.”
Charlie makes Sam dinner as Sam watches the red sox game. We see Charlie try to sneak out. He makes it to his car only to find Sam standing in front of the car asking for a ride to friends house. He says Charlie must take him because he is on “Sam duty.” Charlie grumbles about it but relents and agrees to drop Sam off before heading to his party.
Charlie and Sam jokingly punch each other in the car. Sam gets a bit carried away punching Charlie and Charlie nearly drives them off the road. They stop at a red light and a car behind them smashes into them, pushing them into the intersection. Sam calls out “Charlie?” Just before an enormous truck T-bones him. The screen goes black and we see Sam and Charlie under the car, Sam saying, “It hurts so much” Charlie screams as he sees a light (the paramedics flashlight.)
Charlie is in the ambulance, apparently dead (flat lining). The ambulance driver says to the paramedic that Charlie is a lost cause. The paramedic says there’s no such thing as a lost cause and continues to shock Charlie to revive him. Suddenly Charlie’s heart begins to beat again and Charlie awakes. The Paramedic says “Thank you Jesus!” and he kisses a medallion he wears around his neck. Charlie looks around for Sam and sees a body bag with Sam’s hand poking out. Charlie begins to yell and cry, “That’s my brother!”
We see a paramedic at the scene of the accident pick up Sam’s squashed Red sox cap.
We see Charlie and his mother at Sam’s funeral. Charlie thinks he sees Sam but it’s really just some flowers. The Preacher asks Charlie to drop Sam’s baseball glove in his grave and Charlie says he just can’t. He runs away and trips in a meadow, sobbing. He drops Sam’s glove and his baseball rolls away. Than suddenly it rolls back. Charlie looks up to see Sam standing above him saying “didn’t we have a deal?” They agree to meet there, in this meadow, when the sunset cannons go off to play baseball.
The next scene takes place five years after Sam’s funeral. Charlie has dropped sailing and college and any hope for his future and now lives in a one-room cottage at the cemetery, where he is the caretaker. We see him going about his caretaking duties including trying to get geese to leave the graves alone. His coworker invites him to his anniversary and mentions a waitress he wants to set him up with. He mentions how Charlie never goes out at night. The girl who lost the boat race to Charlie at the beginning of the movie approaches them and asks them to replant the flowers on her father’s grave. (Her father died in the five years we didn’t see.) She recognizes Charlie but Charlie doesn’t appear to recognize her.
Charlie closes the cemetery and runs to the meadow. At sunset cannons, Sam appears. Charlie plays baseball with him.
Charlie is cleaning up the cemetery the next day when he sees one of his friends who joined the army. The friend became a lieutenant and we see the grave of the other friend who died on a landfill.
Charlie goes into town and buys a toy airplane. Some girls try to flirt with him but he’s completely oblivious to them. They ask him who the airplane is for and he says the geese.
Charlie stops by the docks and sees the girl who’s father died that he beat in the boat race, showing off the boat she gets to keep to sail around the world. She’ll be gone for 6 months. Charlie makes a really good sketch of her boat and hangs it in his house just before running off to play baseball with Sam.
Charlie brings Sam the toy airplane and they fool around with it for a while and than they fly it at the geese, making them scatter. They swim in the lake until the sunsets and Sam disappears.
Charlie draws a picture of a boat and studies some boating diagrams before he goes to his coworker’s anniversary. His coworker’s wife introduces him to a girl and its obvious Charlie isn’t interested. Charlie sees the girl who’s going to sail around the world through the window. On the other side we hear her talking to her coach and we learn her name is Tess and she’s been checking Charlie out. Her coach says “The St. Cloud kid is certifiable” and we know that the town views Charlie as crazy. She goes inside and Charlie looks at her but is interrupted by the boy he was supposed to go to Stanford with. The boy makes a comment that there’s not much demand for Charlie as a designated driver. Charlie pushes his into the bar and people ask him to relax. Charlie apologizes and asks him how his work at Goldman Sachs is going. Charlie mentions the downsizing that’s been going on and asks the boy if he still has full dental. When the boy says yes Charlie (rather comically) punches him in the mouth.
Charlie goes to the docks and examines Tess' boat. Suddenly Tess comes out and Charlie apologizes for scaring her. She says he doesn’t scare her. He mentions to her a type of Fluke (like a whale’s tail) she can add to her boat to make it go faster. She mentions having a similar idea but Charlie perfected it.
Charlie is in town when he bumps into the paramedic that saved him. They have coffee and the paramedic asks him if he ever thinks about why he was saved. Charlie believes he was saved for no reason at all, or if there was a reason it was just for him to suffer. The paramedic has cancer but says he’s fine with it because he lived a filled life, but Charlie is wasting his life and his second chance.
Charlie and Sam are playing baseball when it begins to pour. They take trashcan lids and surf through the mud, like two normal kids.
Tess is sailing her boat and her coach tells her at all costs to avoid a storm that’s coming in. She says all right to her coach before sailing right into the middle of it.
Charlie is chasing geese from the cemetery when he sees Tess sitting by her father’s grave with a bleeding wound on her head. He asks her where she got it and she says she had a rough time sailing into the middle of the storm. He takes her to his place and cleans her up. He invites her to dinner and after a few tries she agrees, but mentions that she’s leaving on a 6-month boat journey around the world in a week so she isn’t a prospect for him.
Charlie plays ball with Sam and Sam suggests he serve her pizza
Charlie and Tess have dinner together and Charlie tries to kiss Tess. Tess turns away again, stating that she is leaving in a week. She sees his drawing of her boat and asks for it and Charlie gives it to her. She leaves and Charlie hears a knock at his door he opens it to find a note from her written on the back of a different boat sketch of his. The note says, “Come find me.” Charlie chases her through the graveyard and catches her and it is implied they have sex.
The next day Charlie sees the note again and looks for Tess, finding her sailing at the shore near the cemetery. Tess says she wishes Charlie could go with her on her sail but it’s a solo sail and he can’t. Tess and Charlie spend the day together and are talking in the lighthouse where Tess quotes a poem by E.E. Cummings to Charlie and says it was her dad’s favorite. Charlie hears the sunset cannons and says “Oh shit” and runs toward the meadow where Sam will be, telling Tess not to follow. When he gets there Sam is crying and says he can feel Charlie forgetting him. Charlie says he’s not and Sam asks, “Why did you bring her?” (Tess followed Charlie.) Tess asks him what he was doing and Charlie explains his deal with Sam. Tess says she understands but eventually Charlie needs to let go. Tess is visibly freaked out.
Tess is trying to take her dog for a walk when he runs away. She chases him to town and yells at a friend ahead of her to catch him. The friend completely ignores Tess. We see Charlie in a bar and we see Tess outside of the bar when the coast guard enter the bar and ask for volunteers to find Tess who disappeared three days ago. Tess and Charlie both hear this and begin to run.
Charlie finds Tess at her father’s grave looking the same as when he first found her there (wounded head.) Tess asks why Charlie is the only one who can see her and Charlie says it’s because he can see Sam. She says she doesn’t want to be dead, and that she saw a light. Charlie says everyone sees the light.
Charlie is looking at the note Tess wrote him and is thinking. He gets a knock at his door and a woman he doesn’t know comes in. She introduces herself as the paramedic’s wife and says the paramedic left his medallion to Charlie. He mentions after looking at the medallion that he never saw one without Jesus on it. The wife says its saint Jude, the saint of lost causes. Charlie says, “There’s no such thing as a lost cause.” The wife comments that her husband used to say that.
Charlie gets new hope from the medallion and calls his coworker. They are going to steal Tess' coach’s boat (the coaches name is Tink) and sail to Tess, because Charlie is sure she isn’t dead. Tink catches them trying to leave and it’s obvious he’s given up. He doesn’t let them use his boat and Charlie and his coworker try to steal it but Tink jumps on board. Charlie steers it to where the storm struck because he knows that he would have wanted to try his boat in the roughest of weather if he had been taking an around the world voyage so he “assumes” Tess did so also. Charlie steers all night and at midday Tink takes over. As the sunsets Charlie’s coworker asks him what he did every night at sundown and Charlie ignores him.
Charlie begins to cry as he sees the sunset but knows its time to let Sam go. Sam waits for Charlie and when he sees Charlie isn’t coming he begins to walk towards the light, as memories of him and Charlie dance across the screen. Charlie is openly crying on the boat and he sees a star falling toward some rocks almost like an arrow. He guides Tink to the rocks and they see Tess’s boat overturned. Charlie dives off the boat and examines Tess’s submerged boat but it is empty. He goes on the rocks and finds Tess blue and non-responsive. He takes off her clothing and hugs her, letting his body heat warm her up. He sees a light and the paramedics helicopter has arrived.
Charlie wakes up in the hospital and his coworker tells him Tess survived and that Charlie’s “little hug” saved her life.
We see Tess on her porch and Charlie sales a boat up to her dock. He says he bought it as a fixer upper and when he’s done he’ll try to sail around the world. He offers Tess a ride in the boat and she refuses. Charlie says she’ll have to get back on the water eventually. Tess says it isn’t that, it’s that she’s been having really weird dreams and he was in them. Charlie says they aren’t dreams they’re memories. Tess begins to walk away when Charlie quotes the E.E. Cummings poem to her and says it was her dad’s favorite.
We see Charlie (a few weeks or months later) with Tess. He leaves her and goes back to the meadow where he played baseball with Sam. Sam appears again but Charlie doesn’t really see him, he only hears him. Sam tells Charlie that what’s beyond is beyond anything they ever imagined. Charlie walks away for the last time and the movie ends with Charlie and Tess sailing away into the sunset, together.