Disney Pixar’s new release, Soul, stars Jamie Foxx (Joe Gardener), Tina Fey (22), as well as Richard Ayoade and Graham Norton. The story follows Joe Gardener, a middle-aged music teacher, struggling to secure a stable income and follow his passion of jazz music.
After being accepted as a full-time music teacher at a school, Joe lands a place on his dream gig. We learn he is a very talented pianist. In a state of happiness and fear, Joe slips into another realm after an accident. In this purgatory, he meets an unborn soul named ’22’ who helps Joe to return into his body on Earth. After slow progress, 22 and Joe return to Earth but in two different bodies. Joe is reincarnated into a chubby cat and 22 claims Joe’s body. Whilst their bodies are in different spirits, 22 learns how to be human. She discovers Joe’s senses. The simple pleasures of eating and walking. 22 also convinces Joe’s mother, who is sceptical of Joe’s unstable career, to pursue his jazz dream.
Joe gets frustrated not being within his own skin and steals 22’s “humanity” in the realm. After returning to Earth and finishing the jazz gig, Joe feels guilty and empty. He realises he is full of existentialism and is numb. Finally, he returns to save 22 and she is reborn into the physical world.
This film is an experience. The animation is ethereal. The characters are human and relatable. It really captures the essence of living. As Joe discovers, his spark is not necessarily a passion or talent. It is just living. Breathing. Experiencing life. What 22 witnesses in the physical world is so touching and yet- ordinary. Sometimes we are stuck living in our heads and that is how Joe is at the beginning of the film. Towards the end he becomes in touch with his metaphysical body and spirituality. He is no longer afraid of death but is grateful for the gift of being alive. The message of this film is something both children and adults can appreciate. This film will leave you feeling warm and speechless as you grasp the simplicity and complexity of its narrative.
Disney Pixar’s Soul is available now on Disney+.
Eleni Cola – Guest Film Review