“Soul” Review

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Sophia Scorcia

“Soul” is a deeply captivating Disney Pixar movie that delves into the meaning of life.

Life’s biggest questions include what happens before birth and after death, as well as what an individual’s role in life is. Disney and Pixar’s new movie release Soul, an interesting and incredibly thought-provoking film, poses insight into these questions. Soul follows a man named Joe who has big aspirations; through many setbacks and disappointments, Joe has remained positive. However, when Joe is finally about to set foot on the path that he planned for himself, he accidentally sets foot into a sewer and dies! Joe is now a “soul” headed to “The Great Beyond.” When he realizes what has happened, Joe begins to try everything possible to get back to his life. In his journey to do so, he meets an unborn soul named 22 who is unable to find her place. Throughout the movie, the two make incredible discoveries about themselves and their purposes.

One interesting aspect of the movie Soul is the fact that it includes spiritual aspects but does so without a deity or all-powerful being. When it comes to questions about pre-life and post-death, many people associate such with a religion and a god. Instead, the powerful beings in Soul were creatures of energy and forces of nature that oversaw happenings in the places where souls stayed. However, I found myself slightly bothered by these creatures; they did not really seem to have much power or control and did not seem to care very much when there was a problem. Mainly, the events and happenings in the places before life and after death seemed to be kept in order by general rules, and it was just plain impossible for the characters to break these rules. The beings in charge did not care about the souls and people; they were two-dimensional both literally and as characters. In my opinion, the movie would be more meaningful if it included a knowing, caring character or characters that brought understanding to the audience.

Additionally, I did not enjoy the fact that it appeared quite easy to travel between mortal life and the place where souls dwelled. All one had to do was find himself in “the zone,” doing an activity that he enjoyed and excelled at, bringing his soul out of the mortal world and into another place. Have you ever felt that way? Where you seemed to not be in the world anymore when you were doing something you love? If people did that in the movie, they could find themselves in the world of the souls. I found it strange that one could switch worlds so easily, and I did not appreciate or fully understand this element of the movie.

Even though some parts of the movie and the world it created were questionable, it is quite understandable; it is not easy to create entertainment that both incorporates answers to life’s biggest questions and is enjoyable and believable. Disney and Pixar did quite well for such a film. The characters were fun to follow, and the twists and turns in their stories kept the audience intrigued. If one problem was solved, another was presented, and it was done in quite a comical way. For example, in an effort to return to his body, Joe, as a soul, accidentally falls into the body of a cat. Many parts of the film are clever and allude to real life. 

Soul was also a very relatable film. Any person who has felt that life is not going as planned, feels like he cannot find his “thing,” or wonders about his part or how he will change the world can relate to Soul. The two main characters, Joe and 22 (unborn souls have numbers instead of names), are very contrasting, which greatly adds to the film and storyline. 22 has struggled for years and years to find her “spark,” an activity or job that piques her interest and captivates her. She is not motivated in the least to live on earth and has just about given up on trying to find a spark. Joe, on the other hand, greatly wants to return to earth to continue living his life and experience what he missed out on. The unlikely friends find a way for their problems to solve each other, but events do not play out as expected. Both Joe and 22 gradually learn not only about their lives, but the bigger picture and what it means to live.

Along with the characters and plot of the movie, the themes and messages were quite inspirational. Imagine experiencing life for the first time: eating, walking, breathing. Many of our new experiences in life are seen as burdens or bothers, when really, we can view them as something fresh and new. By doing this, we can feel and learn so much more about the world. Soul helped me to see life with a new perspective, as I am sure it has for many of its viewers. Watching the film can increase appreciation for life itself and help people realize that even if things do not happen in the way one thinks they should, the most important thing is to learn and not give up searching for who one is meant to be. The movie did a fantastic job portraying these very complex themes. All in all, Soul is an amazing movie for those who want to be inspired and motivated and deepen their love for life by embracing a bigger purpose.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆