Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. Reviewed by: Whitney Borup
    100
    I love love love love loved Cold Souls. That might be because I love love love Paul Giamatti.
  2. Darkly funny, twisty-cool existential tragicomedy, loaded with smart notions and filmed like a surrealist dream.
  3. 88
    Barthes takes her notion and runs with it, and Giamatti and Strathairn follow fearlessly.
  4. 88
    Paul Giamatti - that huddle of broiling instincts, out-of-control impulses and aggravated ardor epitomized in "Sideways" - you feel his soul's absence as dearly as its presence.
  5. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    80
    Anchored by a great Giamatti performance, Cold Souls is built around a terrific idea and has serious fun with it. It also marks Barthes as a filmmaker to watch.
  6. 80
    Cold Souls has its flaws, and it threatens to sag into a Paul-like morbidity, but Giamatti’s anxious mien and unspectacular shamblings have never been better deployed.
  7. 75
    You'll laugh till it hurts at Cold Souls.
  8. Cold Souls entertains on its own terms, delivering irony and suspense as Giamatti discovers that his soulless self is a terrible, terrible actor.
  9. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    The low-key satire would have benefited from more of a back story to Giamatti's character and a clearer sense of his relationship with his wife. But what we do get is compelling in the way of an indelible, dreamy short story.
  10. 75
    The movie turns what could have been a tedious meta-movie exercise into a sincere dour farce.
  11. 75
    The chief pleasure to be derived from watching Cold Souls is that it's a journey into the unexpected.
  12. He's (Giamatti) terrific throughout, although the movie, which is more clever than funny, sometimes resembles second-tier Charlie Kaufman stuff.
  13. Reviewed by: Justin Lowe
    70
    Giamatti is aptly cast, playing his own persona with awkward anxiety and suitably skewed humor.
  14. 70
    Works precisely because its ambitions are somewhat mellow; this isn't a relentlessly high-strung picture. Barthes and Giamatti do more with less, turning the idea of excessive navel-gazing into a kind of game.
  15. Reviewed by: Anthony Kaufman
    70
    It may be only in the film's last ambiguous, evocative image that Barthes and Parekh finally transcend the material and arrive at something beautiful and ineffable.
  16. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    70
    Somewhere between the rabbit-hole absurdist comedy of Charlie Kaufman and a navel-gazing Woody Allen film is the somberly humorous indie Cold Souls.
  17. In this attractive, smart-enough, finally un-brave movie Ms. Barthes peeks at the dark comedy of the soul only to beat a quick, pre-emptive retreat.
  18. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    70
    An amusing slice of existential whimsy with an Eastern European bent, Cold Souls posits a world in which humans can have their souls extracted and implanted in each others’ bodies.
  19. 70
    If not always coherent, at least compelling.
  20. The movie still works as a clever little "Twilight Zone" episode with great production values, and it's an impressively ambitious debut for Barthes.
  21. 67
    The premise seems profound, but the claustrophobically inert execution lacks reach or imagination.
  22. 63
    Giamatti tries very hard to put over Cold Souls -- some of his reaction shots are priceless -- but it's going to leave some people, well, cold.
  23. Giamatti is one of the few guys who could take a joke about a chickpea-sized soul and make a meal of it.
  24. Reviewed by: Justin Berton
    50
    Only a temporarily compelling conflict for a feature-length film.
  25. Cold Souls begins to lose its comic focus, however, when Giamatti comes to realize that he needs his soul back.
  26. The more elaborate the plot becomes, the sillier it gets.
  27. Paul Giamatti plays himself in a dark indie comedy that's distinguished by a sci-fi theme and surrealistic touches but ends without a payoff.
User Score
5.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 27 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 12
  2. Negative: 2 out of 12
  1. Mar 1, 2012
    6
    A surreal comedy, with dak humor, about a actor (Paul) who is having trouble with acting (because he can't separate himself from the character he interprets), and see a advertising of a service who retrieve the soul from the body (and thus you don't feel emotions), and storage them - they can borrow you a soul too. The same company also works with a Soul Black Market in Russia, with a mule scheme (and in this points enter Nina the other protagonist), from this point the story of the movie unrolls... it's a well acted movie, with a unusual and interesting theme. My score: 6,7 / 10,0. Full Review »
  2. Sep 28, 2010
    6
    Charles Kaufman's Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind is perhaps one of the most cerebral and innovative films of the last decade, winning best screenplay back in 2005. It is no wonder that this film has influenced other works in cinema. However, although most movies are not too original, Sophie Barthes's debut film resembles Kaufman's work way too closely to Eternal Sunshine and Being John Malcovich, which was also crafted by Kaufman.

    In this Dark Indie-Comedrama, Paul Giamatti plays Paul Giamatti (Being John Malcovich anyone?), and is in midst of practicing for the play Uncle Vanya. Giamatti embraces the depressed character of the play so much, that he himself finds himself with a dark shadow over his head. To rid of his depression, he goes to a specialized company to extract his soul (replace "soul" with "memories" and you have Eternal Sunshine). After negative side effects of being apathetic and being unable to act, Giamatti finds his soul stolen and misplaced. He then searches for his soul with a Russian mule (Dina Korzun) who stole his soul in the first place.

    Cold Souls in all actuality is a good film, the premise is actually quite intriguing with its traces of science fiction and comedy. In addition to Giamatti's usual phenomenal acting, as he portrays multiple states having different souls. But its similarity to Kaufman's is way too close. It's basically watching the same film that Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet already made into a classic. So overall, Cold Souls is a good movie, but there's a better version that has already been made.
    Full Review »
  3. Aug 11, 2010
    2
    The critics missed this one in a big way. Not funny, not quirky, and flat-out boring. I love Paul G., but he's wasted in this film. Looks like "Being John Malkovich", but Cold Souls doesn't hold a candle to that masterpiece. Full Review »