Cold Souls

Calling all Paul Giamatti fans! This whimsical, fantastical, unusual, existential comedy taxes your ability to suspend disbelief while at the same time admire Mr. G's acting chops. We've seen him many times before, from "Sideways" and "Duplicity," to "The Nanny Diaries" and "The Illusionist," so he is NOT an unknown quantity.

In this 2009 SIFF selection, our favorite actor plays himself, and is... guess what...an ACTOR! That is your first stretch but it won't be your last!

Our hero is having difficulty with his character (he is playing the title role in Chekov's "Uncle Vanya") and has slid into a dark funk. He sees an advertisement that promises to extract your soul and relieve you of self-induced pressures and doubts. After some hesitation, he makes an appointment. You follow him through a convoluted (but clear) path from New York to Russia and back. Emily Watson ("Gosford Park") is his befuddled wife, while David Straithairn ("Fracture" and "Good Night, and Good Luck") is wonderful as the technician to whom Giamatti turns...and returns....and returns.

Find this one at a theater near you...and please contact me afterwards so we can discuss that last scene...okay?

I'm happy to report that the 2009 SIFF officials gave this a pretty positive rating.