Cold Souls (2009)
Civilization and its discontents. Paul, an actor preparing for "Uncle Vanya" on Broadway, is mired in ennui. His agent tells him about an office where he can put his soul in storage. He does so then discovers that being soulless helps neither his acting nor his marriage; he returns to the office and rents, for two weeks, the soul of a Russian poet. His acting improves, but his wife finds him different, he sees bits of the borrowed soul's life, and he's now deep in sorrow. He wants his own soul back, but there are complications: it's in St. Petersburg. With the help of Nina, a Russian who transports souls to the U.S., he determines to get it back. Who has he become?
Giamatti stars as a fictionalised version of himself, an anxious, overwhelmed actor who decides to enlist the service of a company to deep freeze his soul. Complications ensue when his soul gets lost in a soul trafficking scheme which has taken his soul to St. Petersburg. The film then follows Giamatti desperately trying to recover his soul.
Paul is an actor who feels bogged down by his participation in a production of Chekov's play, Vanya.
- In response to shiny, bigger, better American consumerism comes Cold Souls, a metaphysical comedy in which souls can be extracted and traded as commodities. Balancing on a tightrope between deadpan humor and pathos, and between reality and fantasy, the film presents Paul Giamatti as himself, agonizing over his interpretation of Uncle Vanya. Paralyzed with anxiety, he stumbles upon a solution via a New Yorker article about a high-tech company promising to alleviate suffering by deep-freezing souls. Giamatti enlists their services, intending to reinstate his soul once he survives the performance. But complications ensue when a mysterious, soul-trafficking mule borrows Giamatti's stored soul for an ambitious, but unfortunately talentless, soap-opera actress. Rendered soulless, he is left with no choice but to follow the trail back to St. Petersburg.