Walt Disney Pixar’s Soul

Courtesy of Loren Javier.
Tylor Mehringer
February 17, 2021

Walt Disney Pixar’s Soul was released on Disney+ on December 25, 2020. The animated movie seems all the rage, so I thought I would give it a try. After watching, I feel I have a new perspective and appreciation for life, so here are my thoughts on this feel-good story. 

(This is where I say, “Spoiler alert!!”) 

Soul endeavors to explore purpose and belonging with a family-friendly approach. Main character Joe Gardner is an aspiring jazz pianist whose dream finally comes true when he is offered a chance to audition for a local band. He is ecstatic to move from his life as a middle school jazz teacher to pursue his ambitions, yet fate has a different plan. While on his way to buy a suit, Joe falls to his death. He finds himself in the “Great Before,” a realm where unborn souls are prepared for life on Earth, and begins mentoring Soul 22, who is struggling to find her “spark” or purpose. After a minor mishap, Joe and 22 are transported to Earth in the wrong bodies, with Joe in a cat’s body and 22 in Joe’s body. Their lively adventures allow 22 to discover what life is truly like, yet she still decides to honor her promise to give Joe her “Earth badge,” which restores his normal life at the cost of 22’s chance at Earthly existence. In the end, though, Joe returns the badge to 22. She can now finally begin to live, and in return for his act of kindness, Joe is granted another opportunity to pursue his musical future. 

Through its simple yet powerful portrayals of the afterlife and the “Great Before,” this beautiful story communicates that the “spark” Soul 22 so desperately seeks is simply the ability to find beauty in everyday life, in the little things such as pizza, a seed, sewing thread, and more. Soul brings new meaning to gratitude and appreciation, teaching the importance of simple joys.

I not only enjoyed this movie because of its light humor, but because it also presented complex concepts, such as fulfillment and happiness, in simpler terms. Especially now, life may feel hopeless as little seems to get better and the days blend together, but it is important to remember the things that bring you joy. While life may be tough, we must appreciate the more mundane moments in order to appreciate the bigger ones. Overall, I recommend Soul because it gave me a deepened perspective on life, and it can for you, too.

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