Cold Souls is an Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind filtered through a Russian worldview. It's comical, yes, but glum and brooding, too, a wintry waltz through acting, underground commerce and metaphysics...
ORLANDO SENTINEL, September 29, 2009
Even with the light lifts from other sources (Barthes has also cited Federico Fellini and Eugène Ionesco as inspirations), the multinational writer/director’s debut feature is an original, and Giamatti is masterful, swaddled in a heavy beard and an existential slump.
AUSTIN CHRONICLE, September 18, 2009
Peppered with ingenious twists of imagination, "Cold Souls" walks a tightrope between intellectual slapstick and edgy social commentary. Virtuoso cinematographer Andrij Parekh gives the film an elegant, uneasy Kubrickian look that complements the action to perfection...
STAR TRIBUNE, August 27, 2009
I enjoy movies like this, which play with the logical consequences of an idea. Barthes takes her notion and runs with it, and Giamatti and Strathairn follow fearlessly. The movie is rather evocative about the way we govern ourselves from the inside out. One of Nina’s problems is that she has picked up little pieces from the souls of all other people she has carried. Don’t we all?
ROGER EBERT, August 19, 2009
The chief pleasure to be derived from watching Cold Souls is that it's a journey into the unexpected. To one degree or another, even the best screenplays tend to follow projectable trajectories, even when the specifics are obfuscated. Cold Souls travels so far off the beaten trail that it's difficult to discern where it might be going. Granted, the final destination is more conventional than one might expect from such an offbeat motion picture, but this is one of those movies where the journey counts more than the arrival. There aren't many analogs available; it bears a passing resemblance to the twisted conceptions of Charlie Kauffman, but even that is an imperfect comparison.
REEL REVIEWS, August 11, 2009
In the sixteenth chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, Jesus asks his disciples, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” If the disciples offered a reply to this, it is not recorded. In any case, the first question is rhetorical, although some of us will take a lifetime to discover, to our consternation, just how much truth it tells. To the second question, however, “Cold Souls” has an exact answer; namely, a credit card.
THE NEW YORKER, August 10, 2009
Writer-director Sophie Barthes’ darkly funny, twisty-cool existential tragicomedy, loaded with smart notions and filmed like a surrealist dream, really takes off… The inventiveness of Barthes’ story is matched by a sense of visual fluidity that’s especially striking in a first feature…
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, August 7, 2009
You'll laugh till it hurts at Cold Souls, a comedy of shocking gravity starring Paul Giamatti as a neurotic actor named Paul Giamatti... The film is superbly shot by Andrij Parekh and edited by Andrew Mondshein, but it's the hilarious and heartbreaking Giamatti who provides it with, well, soul.
ROLLING STONE, August 6, 2009
Some of the best movies feel like vivid dreams. As it turns out, the surrealistic Cold Souls did originate as a dream, one that writer/director Sophie Barthes had after watching Woody Allen's futuristic comedy Sleeper (1973).
USA TODAY, August 2009