Movie review: Soul

The title of Disney/Pixar’s “Soul,” in artistic blue and yellow letters, on a white background. Wikipedia Commons

New Pixar movie highlights the tenderness and passions of life

The newest Disney’s Pixar’s animated film, Soul, is a fantastic whimsical story about finding yourself by living a fulfilled life. After middle school band teacher Joe Gardner finds himself in the afterlife after a maintenance hole misfortune, he is determined to return his soul to his body with the help of sarcastic and problematic soul, 22.

This is bound to be another one of Pixar’s classics. The hilarious and tender movie shows what it means to find your passions but never let them get in the way of living life to the fullest. 

Joe, who has big dreams of entertaining live audiences with his jazz music, finally gets his big break when he is invited to play with Dorothea Williams’ quartet. In a flurry of excitement, Joe stumbles down a manhole, launching him into the afterlife. 

Before he can fully enter the “Great Beyond,” he escapes to the “Great Before,” where unborn souls discover their passions to get their “Earth Passes” so they can begin their lives as humans. Joe, who is determined to return to Earth, steals identification to become a mentor for the unborn souls to find their “spark” and is stuck with mischievous and stubborn soul 22. Joe and 22 concoct a scheme, so Joe can use 22’s “Earth Pass” to return to Earth before his performance that evening. However; in a turn of events involving Captain Moonwind, who helps lost souls in “The Zone,” Joe and 22 are transported to Earth where 22 inhabits Joe’s body – and Joe’s soul ends up inhabiting hospital therapy pet Mr. Mittens. On the instruction of Joe, they make attempts to switch Joe into his body and return 22 to the “Great Before” before Joe’s debut with the quartet. 

Eager to return to his body, Joe takes 22 on an adventure through the wondrous New York City, where 22 discovers that the human world is truly fantastic after all. Joe must choose to make the ultimate sacrifice to help his new friend or pursue his dream of performing with Dorothea and the rest of the quartet. 

The excellent cut sequences involving comedic quips add to the overlying plot before returning to Joe and 22’s adventure. The frantic adventure is followed by the terrific Jazz music that perfectly depicts the hustle and bustle of New York City. 

The movie paints a realistic picture of many people’s fundamental challenges; deciphering your wants from your needs. Joe wants to pursue his passion for performance as a jazz musician but feels pressure from his mother to accept the full-time position as a teacher because it provides more stability. 22 is captivated by Joe’s life but faces insecurity of starting her own life because it may not be as wonderful as his. In comparison, staying in the “Great Beyond” is a safe alternative.

The deep plotline is gentle enough for young viewers but still has enough punch for audiences of all ages: find and enjoy your passions, but don’t let them get in the way of living your best life. The scenic journey from the euphoric grounds of the “Great Before” to the compact streets of New York City shows the beauty of life before and after life’s adventure begins. As Joe learns in the movie, the soul should reflect your passions and your best interest to live. 

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