Soul is Disney Pixar at its very best. Kyle McMahon has his review of Soul for Pop Culture Weekly.
I’m just going to start off by saying this. Soul is Disney Pixar’s most mature movie they’ve ever released. Quite simply, it is about life and if our lives have meaning. It is Pixar’s most brilliant (& weirdest) film yet.
Soul follows Joe (Jamie Foxx), a part time middle school music teacher who feels he may have wasted his life teaching instead of being the professional jazz musician he feels he was born to be. On the day he is offered full time work at school, he also finally gets his big break to play for Jazz legend Dorthea Williams (Angela Bassett) before he subsequently falls into a manhole.
Taken to a sort of limbo where souls enter into and leave bodies, Joe meets 22 (Tina Fey) who has been aimlessly living in this limbo with no yearning to be assigned to a human form. I don't want to go too much more into the plot as it can cross into spoiler territory, but trust me when I say, Soul is not only one of Pixar's best movies, it is easily 2020's best film.
Soul is the type of movie that will be studied in philosophy classes around the world for its thoughtful portrayal of existence, both before we are born and after we die. Masterfully, the story deals with some of mankind's most pressing questions but never manages to be bogged down by the heaviness of it all. In fact, there's never been a movie that has so effortlessly dealt with these issues in such an easily digestible way.
Besides being an insanely accurate depiction of Astoria in Queens, New York, Soul beautifully imagines what afterlife (and before life) may look like, particularly through the lens of a musician. And although Soul isn't a musical, music is in the very DNA of the film. The score, expertly crafted by Nine Inch Nails Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, becomes a character in and of itself. Additionally, Jon Batiste provides the original compositions performed by the characters in the film.
Importantly, Soul is also the first Pixar film to be led by a black character. In fact, most of the cast is black. It's quite important for people to see themselves represented on screen and Pixar finally made the move with Soul. While I can't speak on behalf of people of color, I am so happy to see Pixar has done it with as powerful a film as Soul. I hope we continue to see people of color represented in Pixar movies going forward.
The bottom line for me is that Soul is a beautiful movie, both gorgeous to look at and wonderfully crafted. The story deals with extremely heavy issues about existence and life but does it in a way that is easily accessible for all ages. Just as importantly, Soul makes it not just entertaining but a masterclass in what art should be.
Disney Pixar's Soul is now streaming on Disney+.