Movie Review: Cold Souls (Paul Giamatti, David Strathairin, Dina Korzun) 2009

Posted: November 18, 2012 in Comedy


Paul Giamatti (himself) is having trouble performing Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya .  He hears of this company called Soul Storage were he can unburden himself of his soul.  Desperate to try anything, Paul visits Dr. Flinstein (Strathairn) who tells him that removing the soul helps many people unburden themselves of their troubles, so Paul actually goes through with it.   He is anything but impressed with the size of his soul, it resembles chick pea.  But after a few days, Paul realizes he feels empty without his soul and wants it back.  The only problem is, Dr. Flinstein has already lost track of his soul.  Paul makes due with a loaner soul, and tracks his soul down in Russia, with the help of a “soul mule” named Nina (Korzun) Nina transports souls from Russia to America.  They find Paul’s soul in the body of an oligarch’s wife, named Sveta. (Katherine Winnick)  Sveta is an actress too, on a Russian soap opera, she dreams of having Al Pacino’s soul but settles for Paul Giamatti’s soul.  Does Paul get his soul back, is he able to help Nina find her soul?

This is a very intriguing movie, disguised as a comedy.  Hollywood wouldn’t make a movie like this   It was funded by  the Sundance film festival, so it was a small indie film.  It was written and directed by Sophie Barthes in her film debut.  It really does illustrate the importance of a soul, and never denigrates the idea of having a soul or needing one to live a happy life.  Quite the opposite, it seems to say that a soul is a gift from God, not to be treated lightly or sold like a commodity.  Kudos go to Paul Giamatti, who gives a sweetly disjointed performance.  He seems like a lost puppy, at times searching for his master’s home.  Dina Lorzun plays what should be a cynical character, but she really loves Paul’s soul, and sincerely tries to help him.  The chemistry between Korzun and Giamatti is amazing.  Katherine Winnick is just flat out funny, as a spoiled little rich girl who thinks her husband’s money can buy her anything.  Sure, this movie is a lot like Being John Malcovich, and there are even elements of Woody  Allen’s Sleeper in it, but it stands up on its own as a fine, thought provoking movie.

Cold Souls. Cool.


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