written and directed by Sophie Barthes

starring Paul Giamatti

If you like the films by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich) and Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), you’ll probably enjoy the comedy-drama Cold Souls.

Screenwriter Sophie Barthles, who also directed the movie, based the story on a dream where Woody Allen was carrying around a jar that contained his soul, which looked like a chickpea. From this germ of an idea, Barthles has created a fun cross-genre romp that’s part sci-fi, part existential art film, and part flat-out comedy.

As an angst-ridden actor, Paul Giamatti (playing a character named Paul Giamatti) has trouble separating himself from the characters he plays, so he decides to  try soul extraction — a new technology he’s read about in the New Yorker.

During the course of the film, Giamatti has his soul removed, tries to get it back, but it gets stolen, so he borrows someone else’s soul, then decides to retrieve his stolen soul, and on and on — from New York to Russia and back. The story moves quickly, but has a lot of depth — exploring what, after all, makes us human. Highly recommended for people who find it easy to enter an alternative universe and suspend disbelief. 

Find it at