Last weekend, I went to see "Cold Souls", the new movie starring Paul Giamatti.
Cold Souls is a perfectly imperfect movie that tries to make us understand that it is ok to be exactly who we are, going through exactly what we go through, having our own challenging experiences. Its message is that the shoe fits--even if we think it is not the right shoe. At least that is what I got out of the movie
Sophie Barthes, the French director, brings an interesting angle to addressing our souls through the possibility of soul trafficking: To choose to live with the soul we have or exchanging it with another in the hope of eliminating some of the turmoil, angst and stuckness we are experiencing. She opens up a field of possibility where we ask ourselves, 'If I could exchange my soul with someone else for a day would I? Who would it be? Why?'
In the movie, Paul Giamatti plays himself as he prepares for the role of Uncle Vanya. Vanya's suffering begins to permeate Giamatti's soul and he starts to feel suffocated. As he says, it is as if his heart is being twisted. To ease his pain, he visits the Soul Storage place to extract his soul in exchange for feeling blank, empty and emotionless.
Not surprisingly, he soon discovers that the exchange doesn't measure up! After being soulless for a while, Paul takes on the soul of another. After experiencing that soul's challenges, he wants his own back and all that comes with it. He realizes that that is what makes him feel alive and connected to himself.
I loved the movie, not because it is perfect, but because it reaffirms something that I have always believed: We come here with our own soul "blueprint." We are dealt a set of cards and then we play. The way we react to the choices we make, the lessons we learn, the knocks we endure become the grist for our soul and are what make our souls evolve and grow. Even during our most anguished times, the times when we think we cannot go on anymore, become the springboards to go deeper into our soul and become who we truly are. These are the opportunities to free ourselves from what bind us and constrict us.
Without these times life is purposeless and boring. Every bit of them creates the texture of our lives, and it is a privilege to go through them, as they shape our individuality and build our beautiful lives.
To want to remove anything from ourselves, even a morsel of our daily lives, is a form of denial and causes separation and more pain. If we can bring loving and compassion to ourselves and affirm the perfection of what seems so imperfect, we will be able to untie the strings that bind our hearts.
I would have liked a little more of that heart unbinding as the movie progressed, instead, Ms. Barthes takes the approach that by viewing life through another soul we can see more of ourselves and find inner peace. Go see it and let me know what thoughts it awakened in you.
If I could exchange my soul with someone else for a day, I would have to take Shakespeare's, just to glimpse into the prism of that mind, but I stay content with my Greek soul and all that comes with it!
If you were to switch souls who would you choose?