Soul is an inspirational and uplifting movie trying to shine a light on the meaning of life.
2020 has been a difficult year for movie releases due to the COVID-19 crisis. Originally planned for a June release in cinemas, Soul was delayed until November in hope that the pandemic would less widespread. However, it couldn’t keep that date but Disney still managed to give the fans the best gift by releasing the movie on Christmas Day on Disney Plus, free of charge! I sincerely think it was the best decision because Soul is exactly the movie we need right now!
Soul | Disney Pixar
It’s a movie that can be enjoyed by everyone in the family and depending on your age, it will impact you differently because of its themes. In 2020, Pixar has given us two movies that deal with life and these are also their two best movies. Onward released in early 2020 is about Ian trying to resurrect his father so he could talk to him for once and on this journey, he realizes that what he is looking for is already here – it’s his brother who’s been the father figure he needed throughout his life. With Soul, we have a story that asks us what is the meaning of life. It’s a beautiful and complex question because there is no easy answer to it.
To answer that, the movie uses two characters – Joe Gardner who is a music teacher thinking that his sole goal in life is to be a jazz musician, and 22, a soul who doesn’t want to live life. These are two very different characters, they almost are antipodes but that’s exactly what makes them a compelling team. Both bring something to the other and it helps them realize what life is all about.
The movie introduces a very interesting concept to deal with the more spiritual aspects of life – The Great Before. Not everything takes place on Earth, a big part of the story also takes place in this Great Before. It’s a place where souls are set up before going to Earth to live their life. While the Great Beyond is the place where souls go after their life on Earth.
The other place we see in the movie is New York, it is anchored in reality, it feels like you’re there. The team behind this movie has done an incredible job recreating this city. It’s a visual wonder! New York helps 22 to discover life and see that life is worth living. 22 in the body of Joe experiences the little things of life like eating a pizza, walking around the city, have a simple talk with people. To quote Vanilla Sky, “The little things. there’s nothing bigger, is there ?” There is a lot of beauty in the little and simple things, that’s also what life is and why it’s worth living it. On one hand, we have that little soul who hated life so much but ends up falling in love with it and wanting to live life to its fullest. That’s what makes 22 such a wonderful character!
On the other hand, we have Joe Gardner who misses on the little pleasures of life because he is so certain that his sole purpose in life is to be a jazz musician. It may be his calling but there is so much more in life than just this. Even though he doesn’t realize it right away, Joe’s true journey is finding what it is to live and he does it through the help of 22. It’s a wise message to send to people around the world and even more so in a time of a pandemic like this.
When Joe’s soul is in the body of the cat while 22 is in Joe’s body, 22 discovers life and what it means to live. It’s a great thing to witness, but Joe is solely focused on his sole purpose to be at that concert thinking it will change his life because that’s what he was born to be. It’s only after he returns to his own life and after that concert that Joe realizes that life is so much more than just focusing on his calling, he learns that because of what 22 experienced with his body. Joe’s and also 22’s journey is worth a thousand hero’s journey from great epic movies.
The last thing I want to mention is the score done by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ros while Jon Batiste provided jazz compositions. It’s a lovely score that beautifully accompanies the story and the characters.
Soul is an inspired and inspiring movie trying to shine a light on the meaning of life. There’s a lot of truth and wisdom in this movie. It’s a beautiful life lesson. And also a wonder to watch visually! In 2020, Pixar gave us its two best movies – Soul and Onward!
Five out of five stars.
Disney Pixar’s Soul is streaming exclusively on Disney+ NOW!
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Star Wars and Marvel specialist, anime expert