Charlie St. Cloud
Distributor: NBC Universal
Rlease Date: September 23
CS Lewis wrote that if the Gospel was true then you would not expect to find just one story that perfectly introduced us to Christ, but a multitude of partially correct tales in religion and fable that reflected that truth. Charlie St. Cloud shows just how true an idea that is.
The basic storyline concerns a man who died, but returned to life, who then turns out to be the only hope of salvation for a lost girl. Sound familiar? Charlie St. Cloud was involved in a tragic car accident in which both he and his younger brother died. Paramedics were able to revive Charlie, but not the younger Sam. Moments before the crash Charlie had vowed that he would never leave Sam, and so he stays in the town his brother is buried. The twist? So does his brother. Charlie continues to have conversations every day with Sam, as well as the departed souls of other friends. Burdened by guilt and the deaths of those closest to him,
Charlie St. Cloud is a curious mixture of The Sixth Sense with shades of Ordinary People. Zac Efron preserves his clean cut image with only a hint of a sex scene and not a swear word to be found. The most interesting aspect from a Christian point of view is the other world his brother Sam is refusing to move on to. Be prepared for the usual golden light and universalism that accompanies most Hollywood productions that include the afterlife. What is potentially useful, though, is Sam’s desire to remain in this world because it is close to his brother, and yet his final understanding that the place he is heading is far better than he could have imagined.
Distributor: Seven Network
Release Date: Tuesdays, 9:30 PM.
Remember that 1989 film with Steve Martin, produced by Ron Howard? Imagine the lives of those normal-but-dysfunctional families being made into a television series. Imagine no longer!
Ron Howard is the driving force behind a new series that takes those families, brings them into the new millennium and asks what it’s like to try and raise kids in a world of increasing promiscuity, always-on entertainment and the drive to produce perfect children. For the former, beware of topics that will be familiar to most teens but might not be encouraged viewing – pre-marital sex, masturbation and drugs to name a few. For all that, though, Parenthood is as fascinating as it is entertaining.
It doesn’t take long to realise that how the characters raise their children has a lot to do with how they were raised. The best and the worst of their parents’ habits are on display in their own lives – especially when they don’t want them to be. Watching this makes me wonder how much of my character I’m passing on to my three boys – wince even! – and how well I reflect the spiritual Father who gave me my new life.