Civilization and its discontents. Paul, an actor preparing for "Uncle Vanya" on Broadway, is mired in ennui. His agent tells him about an office where he can put his soul in storage. He does so then discovers that being soulless helps neither his acting nor his marriage; he returns to the office and rents, for two weeks, the soul of a Russian poet. His acting improves, but his wife finds him different, he sees bits of the borrowed soul's life, and he's now deep in sorrow. He wants his own soul back, but there are complications: it's in St. Petersburg. With the help of Nina, a Russian who transports souls to the U.S., he determines to get it back. Who has he become?Written by
The film was inspired by a dream Sophie Barthes had in which Woody Allen discovers that his soul looks just like a chickpea. Barthes wrote the first draft with Allen in mind for the lead role. See more »
Dmitri tells the actress not to worry that Paul's soul looks like and is the size of a chickpea, telling her that Al Pacino won three Oscars. Al Pacino has actually only won one Oscar (Best Actor in 1992, Scent of a Woman). See more »
Now, your soul will be be stored here, or, if you'd rather avoid sales tax, it can be shipped to our New Jersey warehouse.
Giamatti - Paul:
Un, no. God, no. I don't want my soul shipped to New Jersey. No.
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Cold Souls is set in a world where souls are extracted from humans and traded as commodites. Paul Giamatti is an anxious New Yorker who finds the answer to his deep-rooted malaise after stumbling upon an article about a high-tech company that claims to have found a solution to human suffering. By deep-freezing souls, claims the company, they can give their customers a life free from fear, doubt, and worry. Eager to free himself from the emotional burden of angst, Giamatti eagerly enlists their services. Trouble arises, however, when Giamatti's soul is swiped by a soul-trafficking "mule" who in turn gives it to a no-talent Russian soap opera actress. Cold Souls is one of those weird, off-beat films that usually people either love or hate. Let me start by saying that I'm always up for an existential film. I love films with depth, that pose interesting questions, that make us think, either about life, love or ourselves. I love films that speak to our intellect. But for me, Cold Souls has an identity crisis. It balances between a comedy and an existential drama with hints of science fiction. What seems to be a funny chain of events is dealt in a very serious manner. But at the same time, not serious enough to be convincing as a drama or sci-fi. I blame the script. The film does touch in some very interesting subjects but never really delivers the depth I was expecting. Unlike what's written in some synopses, Giamatti's character doesn't seem to come to any realizations. He doesn't discover anything about life or himself and what he went trough seems to have been in vein. On a more positive note, the film was beautifully shot, the soundtrack is great and Paul Giamatti who plays a fictionalized version of himself was superb and a delight to watch. Cold Souls is obviously a breath of fresh air due to its originality but this concept deserved a better execution.
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