Cold Souls

"Excellent"

Cold Souls Review


Like a collision of Charlie Kaufman and Woody Allen, this dark comedy is a surreal gem, astutely examining the issue of identity. And it gives the cast, especially Giamatti, terrific characters to sink their teeth into.

Paul Giamatti (as himself) is a New York actor rehearsing for a stage production of Uncle Vanya. Understandably, the play is depressing him, so he decides to put his soul in storage and lighten up. He finds a facility in the Yellow Pages, and the staff there (Strathairn and Ambrose) help him to desoul his body, although he's a little unnerved when, in a jar, his soul looks like a common chick pea. Meanwhile, Nina (Korzun) is a mule transporting souls between Russia and America, which causes rather serious complications for Paul.

French-born Barthes uses warm comedy and atmospheric suspense to keep us both entertained and unsure where the story will go next. The film is a startling mix of absurd humour and aching emotion, with sharp little details and extremely astute dialog. The matter-of-fact approach to the whole soul-storage business catches us off guard, and we can see why Paul is so desperate to separate himself from his grim stage character.

Giamatti reveals glimpses inside himself while clearly relishing the overall farce. We can see that Paul feels lighter without his soul, and this gives him a chance to subtly explore the nature of relationships and acting through playful scenes with his perplexed wife (the superb Watson) and theatre director (Tucker), both of whom jump to the wrong conclusions. Opposite him, Korzun is also terrific as a woman suffering from the residue of all the souls she has carried.

Barthes cleverly uses camera angles and focal length to give us hints and insight, while she amusingly references films from Being John Malkovich to Sleeper. The similarities with Kaufman and Allen create a familiarity that's perhaps the only flaw here. Otherwise, Barthes has a fiercely original message, and a wonderfully raw tone that also draws on Bunuel and, of course, Chekhov.

As the story takes a series of witty twists and turns, she wins us over with silly touches and thoughtful emotion. And the fact that it's perhaps the heavy weight of being human that defines us.



Cold Souls

Facts and Figures

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 5th May 2010

Box Office USA: $0.7M

Distributed by: IDP/Samuel goldwyn Films

Production compaines: ARTE France Cinéma, Samuel Goldwyn, Journeyman Pictures, Winner Arts, Touchy Feely Films, Memento Films Production

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Fresh: 90 Rotten: 32

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Sophie Barthes

Producer: Daniel Carey, Elizabeth Giamatti, Paul S. Mezey, Andrij Parekh, Jeremy Kipp Walker

Starring: as Paul, as Claire, as Nina, as Dr. Flintstein, as Sveta, as Stephanie

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.