WYSHW: Cold Souls
Cold Souls was one of those movies that I remember seeing some interviews and a few plugs and then nothing much afterwards. To be honest I thought the idea was absolutely captivating: man’s soul gets too overbearing, he sticks it into storage – he wants it back but it was stolen. It’s one of those things that you don’t really hear about. The reception was fairly positive, but negative reviews claimed it was too similar to Being John Malkovich – at least that’s what the wiki says. Personally, I don’t believe that.
The film follows Paul Giamatti, as himself, who can’t seem to get the hang of his role in Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. He finds an ad in the New Yorker about soul storage and looks into it, discovering that the extraction process is fairly simple. After his procedure, he pretty much becomes Jim Carrie with Aspurger’s – unbearable and untalented. When he wants his soul back, he discovers that it’s been stolen by a Russian soul mule (Dina Korzun). The resulting confrontation sends Paul on both an external and internal journey to get his soul back.
I have to say I really dug Giamatti’s performance in this film. Granted, he kind of made it look easy to make it seem like one doesn’t have a soul, but it’s a start. The concept is original and interesting, and the result is a dramedy if I’ve ever seen one – the ending is a little open, but not unsatisfying. And the scene where Paul is forced to look into his soul is something heartfelt and wonderful and allows one to ask the question, “What does a soul really look like?”
Bottom line: a very cool underrated film.
Next time on What You Should Have Watched: John Malkovich as Stanley Kubrick…sort of.