Soul Review

Written By Tia Bailey, Co-Features/A&E Editor

4.5/5 Globes


“Is all this living really worth dying for?” Pixar’s newest film, “Soul,” seeks the answer to this question while exploring the meaning of life. 

The long awaited film was released onto Disney+ on Dec. 25, months after its intended summer theater release. The movie was originally supposed to be released in June, then got pushed to November and then to Christmas Day. 

The movie stars Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey as the main characters, Joe and 22. 

“Soul” follows Joe, a middle school band teacher who dreams of being a jazz pianist. When he finally gets a chance to perform with an artist he admires, Dorothea (Angela Bassett), he recklessly runs through the city and falls in a sewer, sending his soul out of his body. 

Joe’s soul gravitates towards “The Great Beyond,” but he runs away and ends up in a place called “The Great Before,” where abstract figures named Jerry help souls prepare for their lives on Earth. Here, he meets 22, a difficult soul who refuses to complete her preparations and go to Earth. 

The movie has one main idea: each soul has a “spark” — Joe’s is piano. It is assumed by Joe and 22 that a soul’s spark is also their life’s purpose. 

Joe and 22 get themselves into some sticky situations while attempting to get Joe’s soul back into his body (which is in a coma after his fall), and 22 ends up in his body instead, while Joe’s soul ends up in the body of a therapy cat. 

While going through the day in Joe’s body, 22 begins to take a liking to life, and finds joys in simple things such as pizza, simple interactions with other people, lollipops and more. This leads to an epiphany for her, and she is determined to find her spark while she is in Joe’s body. 

The two eventually realize that a soul’s spark isn’t what they thought it was. The ending for Joe and 22 is ambiguous, but it’s safe to assume that their lives’ purposes will be filled. 

Joe and 22 both have great character development, with Joe realizing that he needed to appreciate life as it is, and 22 similarly just wanting to be alive. The Jerrys addressed Joe’s development at the end, stating “We’re in the business of inspiration, Joe, but it’s not often we find ourselves inspired.”

The film hints that Joe’s purpose in life is teaching, as his former student got him his gig with Dorothea, he pushed one of his particularly talented students to not quit band and he taught 22 how to be alive. 

Everything about “Soul” is beautiful — the animation, the plot, the message it leaves viewers. The movie currently has a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Pixar has been releasing more films in recent years that deal with death, and while “Soul” does touch upon that, its main focus is on life and finding your spark for it.