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? Written by
The film was inspired by a dream Sophie Barthes had in which Woody Allen discovers that his soul looks just like a chickpea. Barthes wrote the first draft with Allen in mind for the lead role. See more »
Dmitri tells the actress not to worry that Paul's soul looks like and is the size of a chickpea, telling her that Al Pacino won three Oscars. Al Pacino has actually only won one Oscar (Best Actor in 1992, Scent of a Woman). See more »
Impressive Giamatti Performance in Futuristic Dark Comedy
This dreamlike dark comedy starring Paul Giamatti is strangely hilarious at times and at other times it is moving. Paul Giamatti who plays himself in the film, is an actor in misery that is struggling with acting a soulful character in a Chekov play. He reads an article in The New Yorker about a company that can extract souls and preserve them, so one can live without a soul. Giamatti being curious decides to check it out. David Strathairn plays the soul doctor and is hilarious. Giamatti's first visit is full of humorous dry jokes as he is convinced to have his soul extracted. After feeling hollow and empty without a soul, Giamatti decides to borrow the soul of a Russian poet. Unsatisfied, all he wants is his own soul back, however it has been borrowed by the soap opera actress wife of a Russian mafioso. The way the film is portrayed is very surreal and the director did an excellent job capturing this feel. Giamatti steals the screen as he is humorous and yet can believably portray such complex emotion.
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