Charlie St Cloud: Was Charlie meeting Tess’ Ghost?


It is challenging to choose between your family and the person with whom you want to spend your entire life. ‘Charlie St Cloud’ deals with a similar situation. Though the movie is quite simple, it does confuse the viewers during the movie. We saw that Charlie never met Tess in reality; it was her ghost he used to meet all time, and Tess was alive too. Quite confusing, right?

Here we have unraveled these parts of the film. (MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD)

Plot Summary of Charlie St Cloud

Charlie is a sailor who wins a boating race with his younger brother Sam. He then receives a sailing scholarship to Stanford University. After his graduation ceremony from Winslow High School, he promises Sam to practice baseball until he leaves for college.

On the same night, Charlie is supposed to go to the graduation party, but his mother makes him babysit Sam. He then tries to sneak out to the party, but is caught by Sam. Sam asks Charlie to take him to his friend’s house. On their way, they get into a car accident because of which Sam died. At Sam’s funeral, Charlie runs off into the woods, and he finds Sam’s. Charlie then fulfills Sam’s dying wish by practicing baseball with him every day at sunset in the woods.

Charlie practiced baseball with Sam in the woods, as he promised him before.
Image: IMDb

The movie takes a five-year leap. We see Charlie gave up his scholarship and is a caretaker at the cemetery where they buried Sam. Charlie develops a power of seeing the dead or those who are dying. He speaks with his old friend, Sully, who died in the Marines.

One day Charlie visits the docks in the town, and there he meets Tess Carroll. She tells her that she wants to sail around the world. Both of them start to develop a relationship between them. Sam begins to feel that Charlie forgets him, as he is more in Tess’ world. Later Charlie discovers that Tess went missing a few days earlier while sailing. He then realizes that he has been seeing her just like he can see Sam.

The film continues to show the struggle of Charlie balancing between the two and his journey to know the truth about Tess’ disappearance.

Where is Tess? Is she dead?

Charlie met Tess at the docks.
Image: IMDb

When he discovers that Tess went missing a few days earlier while sailing, he realizes that he has been seeing her just like he can see Sam. Charlie recalls that one evening when they were playing hide and seek, and Tess left a note that said “come find me” along with a drawing of a boat. Charlie then realizes that Tess is not dead, and he must find her.

He then takes a boat to find her, along with his friend Alistair and Tess’s coach Tink. Because of his search for Tess, Charlie misses his game with Sam. Sam then appears to Charlie as a shooting star to reveal Tess’ location and also tells him that he will love Charlie no matter what.

The group finds Tess’ wrecked boat with her lying on the rocks. After Tess regains her consciousness, she explains to Charlie that she had vivid dreams about them together. Charlie realizes that he always met Tess’ ghost, and she was leaving clues for him to find her and save her life.

The film ends with Charlie resigned from his job at the cemetery and went into the woods to bid farewell to Sam. He tells him that they will always be brothers even though he can’t see him now. Charlie and Tess complete the repairs of a sailboat he purchased before, and they set off to sail around the world.