Photo courtesy of Brett Massé
Many of us live our lives with unanswered questions such as: “What am I here for?” “How did I get here?” “What happens after I die?” and often, “What is my purpose?” This film aims to answer these profound inquiries. “Soul,” the hit animated picture recently released by Pixar, takes an adolescent approach to life’s biggest questions.
“Soul” is directed by Pete Docter and produced by Pixar, starring Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey and Angela Bassett. It begins with Joe Gardner, a middle school band teacher, who always found himself longing for a future in jazz. One day he gets a chance and then the unthinkable happens when a tragic accident lands him in “The Great Beyond.”
The movie uses jazz music to portray the message of the concept of purpose in life. It is beautifully done and pays a wonderful homage to the genre’s history. My favorite scene from the movie that portrays a theme of living one’s life freely is at the end when Mr. Gardner has an epiphany about 22’s (Tina Fey’s character) purpose and how she developed her “spark.” Her spark was not developed by what she was best at, but rather by what she loved the most and found most fulfilling; he realizes that he also originally misinterpreted the true purpose of his life.
The creators utilized light, music and setting to elevate the impact of emotional themes. One of the most creative aspects of this film is how seamlessly the directors transitioned from real life to a spiritual metaphysical life.
The value of a life well lived, as well as the importance of finding one’s calling are primary themes. Gardner held his piano skills and jazz music as the most valuable elements in his life. He then learned, as the movie progressed, that music and his compassion were where his purpose and fulfillment laid.
The motive of the movie is to show viewers that value in objects or things, or compromising one’s commitment to self do not supersede the importance of passion, compassion and liberty to live one’s life freely.
That said, there were some weaker points. I was not a fan of the scene in which he repeatedly and stubbornly tried to jump out of The Great Before onto Earth. The same message of his longing to return to life was drawn out and this took away from other important themes and diminished the impact of the scene.
The movie itself is just under two hours long and is perfect for a cozy Friday night in.
“Soul” is a great movie for all families to watch and enjoy together, and is easily viewable on Disney Plus. I give “Soul” 4/5 stars.