Soul: A Review


Disney Pixar’s “Soul” was released on Christmas day exclusively on Disney+. It stars Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Daveed Diggs, and more! With a star-studded cast, is it as great as it seems at first glance?


The theme and art choices seem eerily similar to Pixar’s “Inside Out” released in 2015. That’s not to say the movies are the same in and of themselves, “Soul” simply reminded me of “Inside Out”. “Soul” centers around an aspiring musician who’s single greatest passion is music, lives by it… and dies by it. 


The movie opens with Joe (Jamie Foxx), an aspiring musician teaching a middle school music class part-time when he gets the opportunity of a lifetime. He gets a call from one of his past students about an offer to play with a big-time jazz musician. He auditions, gets the role, and then he dies. That’s right! Life is on the up and up, and then he just dies. In terms of the shock effect, it was kind of diminished by showing the scene in practically every trailer that was released beforehand. Had they only shown that he died in the trailer and not how it happened, I feel like it would have had more impact in the actual movie. Had the scene been played out as stated, I think the shock value would have carried into the next act pretty well.


He wakes up on what seems to be the stairway to heaven but with a twist. Joe feels like it isn’t his time yet and that he still has to prove himself. He falls off the stairs and into some void and after some visually stunning animation, he ends up in the “Great Before,” where souls are made and sent off to Earth. After some generic soul being sent to earth shenanigans, he gets paired with a rather feisty soul called “22” (Tina Fey), who doesn’t see the point of living if you’re just gonna die. 


Though they spend quite a bit of time together in the “Soul World”, they also go back to the human world here and there through some mind-and-body hippie magic. The spell gets messed up and instead of getting in his body, Joe ends up in a cat while 22 gets Joe’s body. The movie goes on to show 22 finally getting to see the beauties of life while Joe is busy trying to get his body to the performance on time. 


Long story short, Joe finally gets the gig and performs his heart out, and when it’s over, what should have been a feeling of pride and victory, was simply an aching emptiness. He has to reflect on his past in order to understand who he really is and the way they pull it off really tugs at your heartstrings. The scene plays out as a series of flashbacks about his past without any dialogue, just moving imagery with jazz music playing in the background. 


“Soul” taught me such an important message that I hadn’t really thought about before. I realized that sometimes life isn’t about living “the” dream or even your dream. Sometimes life is just about living. That’s it. You just have to be there, no more, no less, and that’s FINE. Sometimes you have to take a moment to step back and just be in the moment.


I give “Soul” a solid 8.5 out of ten because it has some emotionally moving scenes, but some of the themes are a little too intellectual for the younger audience it is geared toward. If you’re a fan of the movies “Coco” and “Inside Out,” then you’re gonna love this movie.