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Cold Souls

HD   PG-13 Closed Captioning

Sophie Barthes

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About the Movie

Writer/director Sophie Barthes crafts this metaphysical tragicomedy, which straddles the line between reality and fantasy, 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. Now, in order to get back the soul that is rightfully his, Giamatti must make the arduous trip to St. Petersburg, along the way discovering that the true key to happiness isn't the absence of pain, but the ability to experience the entire spectrum of emotion and cherish the things that really matter.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 122
  • Fresh: 91
  • Rotten: 31
  • Average Rating: 6.3/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: These are all very surreal, inventive ideas, heightened by the dreamlike cinematography from Barthes' partner, Andrij Parekh; the scenes shot in St. Petersburg, for example, are simultaneously gauzy and bleak. – Christy Lemire, Associated Press, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: It's comical, yes, but glum and brooding, too, a wintry waltz through acting, underground commerce and metaphysics. – Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel, Jun 24, 2010

Rotten: Barthes' execution is flat, philosophically empty and mostly boring. But you can't call it soulless (no, not even when it's a zinger of a pun to finish the review with). – Simon Miraudo, Quickflix, Oct 21, 2014

Fresh: You'd say that Cold Souls is strange, but strange doesn't begin to describe this darkly humorous, concept film. – Giles Hardie, Unknown2, Jun 24, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Paul never disappoints

It's important to try and see this film as a mood piece (think direction of sofia coppola's "Lost in Translation" with Kaufman-esque themes). It's so nice to see Paul continuing to take on roles that are understated, complex, and subtle, as his acting is so brilliant and always improving. I feel like these introverted/ self-questioning films are a dying breed these days, but I found this to be very enjoyable. For those expecting riveting and fast-paced plots, yes, this may seem a bit slower. But there is definitely something very poetic about the themes portrayed in this film, and it leaves the audience on a contemplative note, which was nice to see. For those who feel like they are lost and emotionally burdened in this crazy world, and would think sometimes that ignorance would lead to bliss will definitely appreciate and relate to Paul's struggle in the film. Can't get over how the combination of Paul's sensitive, self-aware, selfless, and subtle performance really makes the script come to life.


A worthwhile film to watch in between all those ones with plots that make sense. Sometimes one needs a break from the usual and this will deliver that. It's one of those films that requires patience and curiosity. But it definitely leaves you fulfilled.

I would recommend this as one to start conversations with and see where it goes when you talk about the plot. So why not?

Existential comedy on selling your soul - metaphores become ironies

Enjoyed this movie - well acted, directed, and scripted. Original and absurdist take on selling one's soul. Answers these questions: Who would want to sell their soul? Why? How would it all be facilitated? What does your soul look like? Giamatti is hilarious!

Cold Souls
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  • $9.99
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Released: 2009

Customer Ratings