Duration: 106 minutes
Story: Pixar's animated musical follows Joe Gardner voiced by Jamie Foxx as a middle school music teacher who has been looking for his big break all his life. Right before he gets to play alongside jazz legend Dorothea Williams, Joe dies and finds his soul heading the Great Beyond. For his passion for music, he has to find his way back to his body with the help an infant soul learning about herself and finding a reason to be born on earth.
Review: Soul is an animated film perfect for a year like 2020, the film focuses on themes such as reasons to live on, finding your spark, doing something you love and enjoying every minute of your life. Joe Gardner who has been yearning to become a musician has been taking small gigs in hopes to find his big break.
One day at school he finds out he has a real shot at a stable career as a teacher after being offered a full-time job. Before he can make a decision about that offer he gets a chance to play alongside jazz legend Dorothea Williams. However, his joy-filled walk back home to inform the news to his mother ends up with him at the hospital clinging to his life.
Joe wakes up on the escalator that will lead him to the Great Beyond but runs away after realising he is not ready to give up on his passion and his life. Joe finds his way on to the Great Before and meets a young soul called 22, who for centuries has resisted embarking upon her journey to Earth. While one desperately wants to go to Earth the other does not, so they strike a deal.
Joe agrees to help 22 to find her spark and complete her badge which can take him to earth. After breaking some rules they both find their way to Earth but in the wrong bodies. 22 in Joe's body manages to live the life she was promised by the Great Before but could never understand the depth of it. Joe, on the other hand, manages to find out his dream but realises there is something else he had been living for all along.
Soul truly gives everything a Pixar movie has to offer to the adult audience like a mid-life crisis, unfulfilled dreams, answers to what-if questions, complex family relationships and the existential topic of life and death.
Joe tells his mother, that he is afraid to leave the world without having amounted for anything. That one scene puts the whole film in perspective, despite the Great Before and Great Beyond, how we spend every moment of our present is what shapes our lives. Directed by Pixar veteran Pete Docter (Up and Inside Out), with Soul we get another animated film made for the adults that can also be enjoyed by the preteen audience.
Music is one of the most essential parts of the story. The wonderful score provided by Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross with jazz compositions of Jon Batiste is what brings out the emotions in every scene. Jaime Foxx as Joe and Tina Fey as 22, are a delight to hear and watch, as they struggle and grow closer together.
Overall Soul is highly recommended for gloomy days when you need a pick-me-up. The film is also a good fit for the holiday season with our without any loved ones accompanying you.