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Soul (2020)

It’s taken me a while to be able to put into words what I truly thought of Pixar’s newest animation, Soul. Described as a family movie, Soul sees Joe Gardner a middle school band teacher whose life hasn’t quite gone the way he expected. His true passion is jazz and on the day his dream to become a musician begins his life tragically ends. As Joe is transported to the great beyond he is not ready to say goodbye to his life so he finds himself transported to the great before where he is encouraged to mentor a new soul, 22, on their journey to earth.

After my first viewing of Soul I felt slightly overwhelmed, the mass amount of content in this film was a lot to process and I wanted to fully understand what the movie was trying to tell me. When you disregard the fluffy yet adorable animation, Soul is a movie the juggles themes of death and acceptance, which felt incredibly profound for a ‘family’ movie. Although I may sound a little negative I don’t mean to be, having seen all of Pixar’s previous films and being a massive fan of their style I just thought Soul was missing the Pixar essence but suppose that is a good thing? I felt lost in the middle of the film and finding myself scrambling for answers before I got left behind and Pixar have never made me feel that way before but I also felt as though I was watching one of their most captivating yet self-deprecating movies, that personally made me reflect on myself.

Nonetheless, Soul is an incredibly beautiful movie with an incredibly memorable message behind it and executed with an unthinkable amount of magic and uniqueness, which no other company aside from Pixar could ever produce to as high a standard.

Soul is one of my first experiences of a Pixar leaving me slightly overwhelmed and baffled by the sheer amount of content and detail in the narrative. When you stop and take in every ounce of detail in the film, whether you like it or not is it spectacular. Easter eggs galore, history and pop culture references are scattered all over and I thoroughly enjoyed going back and noticed some of these hidden gems, for me I find these smaller details that go unnoticed by so many make Pixar movies, Pixar movies. Pixar are known for crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s always, but in this case Pixar leave us to decide the ending, for some that may seem unsatisfying but for me I really enjoyed being able to piece together the perfect ending for both Joe and 22, from my own interpretation of the film.

Soul is going to be an incredibly impactful film for modern audiences as it depicts the many cross roads of life and encourages its watchers to understand that life is worth living, don’t let it pass you by. We as not useless if we do not achieve, we have the potential to be happy and embrace life everyday. Soul teaches us that, yes sometimes things get in the way of our happiness but there are so many things to help us continue being happy. Joe Gardner believes he is only useful when creating music but this isn’t true, we are not defined by our talents and dreams nor should we be consumed by them. Joe Gardner is a complex character, more complex than any of Pixar’s before which is why it is all the more powerful that he is the first black lead in a Pixar movie, what a truly beautiful way to start 2021.

I would recommend you watch this movie if you are a fan of Pete Docter’s (the Chief creative officer of Pixar) previous directorial movies such as Inside Out (2015) and Up (2009) as his style is incredibly distinctive and specific themes seems to arise in his movies; death, new beginnings, acceptance and relationships. His films are all very coherent and recognisable whilst almost being too heavy to watch, his creations create a connection to their audiences on a deeper level, unlike most ‘family’ animated movies.

In a nut shell, Soul (2020) is a very memorable movie and included moments that made me laugh and almost made me cry, I would say it has to be one of the best movies of 2020 but most certainly not Pixar’s best movie or particularly my all time favourite. Despite it not being my favourite, I implore you to watch this film and really absorb all of the incredible detail, allow yourself to harness it’s meaning and go on trying to enjoy the little things in life… especially during times like the ones we live in currently.


About Me

Actor Writer Critic Film Movie Reviewer

Welcome to Film Probe, a platform where I have dedicated my time and energies to reviewing films, tv and more. I pride myself on offering more than just an opinion, but rather a carefully crafted insight into the film's themes, characters, and overall production.

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