A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie's main take-away is that it's more important to want what you have rather than to have what you want. That said, the folks behind the soul-transplant business (which represents any "cool" cutting-edge new technology) go about their work with little understanding of its potential impact and danger.
Positive Role Models
The hero is portrayed as honest, loyal, and smart, though somewhat overly self-involved. One businessman is shown to be corrupt, while another is shown to be naive and corruptible. One soul-trafficking character evolves from an unconscious self-promoter to someone who sees the error of her ways and takes responsibility for her actions.
Violence & Scariness
A dog bares its teeth at the main character.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A Life Drawing class features nude female models in artistic poses; there's also a brief glance at a female nude poster. Mild cuddling between husband and wife in bed.
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Intermittent cursing includes "for Christ's sake," "for God's sake," "schmuck," "hell," "crap," and one "what the f--k?"
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some characters smoke (particularly during scenes set in Russia). The main character also pours himself one stiff drink.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although this indie comedy about the soul transplant business is imaginative, it probably won't have much appeal for kids or young teens. It's grown-up material, and the humor comes from taking our culture's incessant soul-searching and self-involvement to a new level of absurdity. Expect some swearing (mostly mild, though there's one "what the f--k?") and smoking. There are also two scenes with brief female nudity (models in a drawing class and a poster designed to elicit a humorous response). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The clever script and smooth direction by first-time writer/director Sophie Barthes keep this surreal comedy grounded in reality. So do the terrific performances, especially by Giamatti in a role that feels like it was tailor-made for his Everyman look and quirky personality. There's not a moment of tongue-in-cheek behavior or campy, "knowing" dialogue.
It's a stretch to imagine that souls can be removed, transplanted, or stored -- and an even bigger stretch to make the premise funny and last for nearly two hours. Barthes is mostly successful. She spends just enough time with the newly soulless Giamatti -- and then with Giamatti owning the interim soul of someone even more depressed than he was -- to keep the film from exhausting the narrative possibilities. The rest of the movie is spent in a farcical adventure in St. Petersburg, Russia, during which Giamatti learns a lesson that the audience knew from the beginning.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.