But there’s something a little too clean cut about Efron for the role of Charlie St Cloud, an ambitious sailor and scholar who turns into a recluse after the death of his younger brother Sam (Charlie Tahan). The local fishing-village community think Charlie’s gone mad: for five years, he works in a graveyard and plays baseball with his dead brother in the woods every night. But we know he’s still heartthrob Zac Efron – he’s still shaving every day, for starters.
That said, this is a fantasy, and the suspension of disbelief is key as the film moves further into supernatural territory (let’s just say it’ll please fans of ‘Ghost’). But as the drama increases, so do the clumsy flashbacks and corny lines: this relies on cheap tricks to force tears, even if those tricks work. As for the supporting cast, Tahan is suitably adorable, while Amanda Crew will divide audiences as love interest Tess. At least her character has her own mind and career: she’s about to sail around the world solo. There’s also an amusing turn from young Brit Augustus Prew, who brings a welcome streak of irreverence as Charlie’s party-boy colleague. Cynics need not apply.