It’s Cold Souls, not Old Souls. Paul Giamatti ,yes, that Paul Giamatti from “Sideways”, is an actor who can’t get it up. Get it up? you ask. Yes, his acting chops. He is doing Chekhov and “Uncle Vanya”. He is Vanya but he is not Vanya. He is lost in the part and doesn’t have a map that will take him into the role. He has reached a point where he can’t separate his part from himself.
Then he reads a “New Yorker” article. Isn’t that the source of a lot of troubles? “New Yorker” articles. A company that stores souls? So he goes for a visit. He’s just a tourist on a looksee. Not really interested. Just wants a little info on how the process works.
The company doesn’t have any answers to deep philosophical questions. It only “de-souls the body or disembodies the soul.” The man behind the desk offers to store the soul in New York City “or if you would avoid sales tax, it can be shipped to our New Jersey warehouse.” Paul answers, “No, God no. I don’t want my soul shipped to New Jersey.”
As you can see, “Cold Souls” is a comedy but one that tackles deep, philosophical questions like where Paul plans on storing his soul once he takes up on the offer. There’s always Russia. The Russian soul they talk about is there. Why not his soul?
What is in it for Paul? “Believe me. When you get rid of the soul, everything makes so much more sense. Everything becomes more functional and purposeful,” the salesman says. He is pretty convincing. What could be more appealing? Paul is convinced. Where does he sign up.
Little does Paul know this is a bait-and-switch that isn’t bait-and-switch. When Paul goes back to retrieve his soul, he finds out that somebody else has it. You could call this a romantic comedy. After all, it is the story of a man falling in love with his soul.
If you could exchange your soul for another, what kind of soul would you want?