Sophie Barthes' Cold Souls "is an astonishing directorial debut," said Marshall Fine in The Huffington Post. Paul Giamatti stars "as an actor named Paul Giamatti" who, overwhelmed by his upcoming role in a production of Anton Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya," takes on the services of a company that temporarily removes and stores souls. Cold Souls is "at once ridiculously funny, startlingly provocative and movingly melancholy," and Giamatti "gives what may turn out to be a signature performance." (watch the trailer for Cold Souls)

Paul Giamatti's "anxious mien and unspectacular shamblings have never been better deployed," said Anthony Lane in The New Yorker. But Cold Souls "is a comedy, not a philosophy lesson, and thus richer in bafflement than in understanding," so it "will leave many viewers deflated, especially those who believe, like Aristotle, that the soul is an animating life force, or who pride themselves on its grandeur."

Cold Souls "starts with an amusing premise," said Rex Roberts in Film Journal International, "but fails to develop it." Viewers may be "encouraged to ponder life's existential dilemma," but instead are only faced with "irony and sentiment." And the film's "busy combination of science fiction, satire, and absurdity, cloned onto a fairly conventional comedy-drama, favors style over substance."