Cold Souls

My life is not large enough for her soul.”

It’s likely you missed it in the theaters.  It was only out for a couple of weeks in very limited release, it starred only a few big name actors, though those actors are accomplished, and it’s certainly an off-kilter film, the kind of which finds a very limited audience.

Cold Souls is a dark comedy about a man who employs the services of a company that specializes in the removal and reinserting of souls.  Paul Giamatti plays the man, and he is as excellent in this film as he has ever been.  The movie is worth watching for his performance alone.  David Straithern and Emily Watson are also involved, and both are characteristically excellent.  The film is eccentric, intriguing, funny, surprising, and poignant. I recommend it with enthusiasm.

One will be hard pressed to find another film that deals as explicitly with the idea of the soul, what it means to have a soul – to be some strange mix of the spiritual and physical – what it means that we are all soul-full beings, shaped by our experiences, and what our responsibilities are to ourselves and more importantly each other as soul-full women and men.

In the film, Paul Giamatti plays an actor named Paul Giamatti currently cast in a production of a Russian play.  Paul is finding the part especially difficult because the role makes his soul feel especially heavy.  He has his soul removed to enable himself to perform the part.  As the plot twists, he finds himself embodying the soul of another person, and it is while incarnating this other person that he utters the line at the top of this review.

I found this line particularly moving.  Could any of us successfully encapsulate the life experience of another person?  Can we comprehend the breadth of pain and depths of joy that another person lives through and with every day?

I’ve heard it said that a human being is an eternity you can walk around, that you can spend forever investigating and exploring the intricacies of another and still you will never know all of that person.  When God breathed into us, I like to think that God imparted a bit of his eternal-ness into each of us.  We go on and on and on and on and on and on and… well, you get the idea.

We are infinite beings with finite minds, perhaps.

And then of course, I think about the fact that God does know each of us completely.  God is capable of fully comprehending us in a way that we are incapable of comprehending even ourselves.  I think about this, and I bow in worship of the Inestimable God.

Anyway, this is what the film Cold Souls did for me.  This is the conversation it sparked in my life.  Who knows what it might spark for you?