Cold Souls

Cold Souls

(2009)

The debut feature from Sophie Barthes, Cold Souls follows the story of Paul Giamatti (played by Paul Giamatti) in a deadpan comedy about personal identity. Stumbling upon an article in The New Yorker about a high-tech company that extracts, deep freezes and stores peoples souls, Paul thinks he just might have found they key to happiness that he had searching for. But complications arise when he is the unfortunate victim of “soul trafficking.” Paul‘s journey takes him all the way to Russia in hopes of retrieving his stolen soul from an ambitious but talentless soap-opera actress.

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Flicks Review

Paul Giamatti playing Paul Giamatti pondering the usefulness of his soul? If it sounds anything like Being John Malkovich, that’s because Charlie Kaufman’s influence is all over it. First time director/writer Sophie Barthes pulls off a metaphysical black comedy that aims to touch the soul but only makes it, occasionally, to the funny bone. The script is too solemn, the pace too dull. It’s as though Barthes was desperate to balance out the nuttiness of the film’s more light-hearted themes.... More

Giamatti excels as the forlorn actor identifying too closely with his Chekhov character and later as a hollow entity trying out the souls of others. But the team of icy Russians trafficking human souls not only fit all the stereotypes, there are moments you feel you’re meant to be watching a weepy about the plight of exploited drug mules.

The concept of soul storage works on many levels but its absurdity is both a blessing and curse. On one hand it takes the edge off the intellectual pursuit of ‘self’, particularly when Giamatti discovers his soul is a mere chickpea. On the other, you’ve got to hang in there to unveil the film’s many subtle truths, the Descartes references, the parodies of soul-searching such as the actor’s refusal to ‘look inside’ by donning a pair of goggles. Strangely for a comedy, when the actor borrows the souls of others, his persona only gets more melancholy. Then all you’re left with is a cold soul.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

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In Cold Souls, Paul Giamatti plays Paul Giamatti, a man who utilizes a soul storage service in order to fully encapsulate a character he plays in a famous Russian stage play. However, complications arise causing his soul to conflict with the black market. This is very much a meta-movie in the same vein as Being John Malkovich. Though the premise is definitely an intriguing and entertaining one the gritty indie movie vibe that the director goes for does not compliment it at all. Ultimately, the... More soul of the movie has its quirky charm, it’s just engulfed in the wrong body.Hide


A thinking person's comedy. It has some huge laugh-out-loud crack-up moments. Think of it as a bit of 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind', a bit of 'I heart Huckabees'.
Giamatti is wonderful.
Definitely seeing if you love watching actors do their thing. And if you like Chekov and his play 'Uncle Vanya'.


The Press Reviews

74% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Perhaps there was never more than a cinematic short story here, in which inconclusiveness might have been a greater virtue. But it's a strong statement from a new film-maker who should be watched. Full Review