“Soul” Movie Review: A New Look on What It Actually Means to Live

Disney’s Soul (Pixar/Disney)

What does it mean to actually live?  The film looks at life from a dreamer’s perspective, while also in the point of view of someone who has never lived life before. It shows us how we need to live life to the fullest and experience passion and love for all things around us. It is a cautionary tale on what happens if you lose the “soul” of life.

Both Jaime Foxx (Joe) and Tina Fey (22) execute their characters very well throughout the entire film, inspiring watchers to slow down and appreciate the small things.The film starts out in Joe Gardner’s classroom where one of his students, Connie, is told to play the next music notes, but instead falls deeply into the feeling of music while playing her trombone. After she is finished, her classmates decide to mock her creativity; they think that her jazz is silly. Joe, the teacher, tells the kids that he used to think that Jazz was worthless too, but that after a jazz performance with his dad, he fell in love. This memory is the introduction of how the film interprets, what it really means to live!

Moving forward in the plot, the viewers see Joe Gardner receive the opportunity to accomplish his life long dream of being able to perform with a famous jazz player, Dorothea Williams. After his audition he is elated and is not paying attention to his surroundings. While crossing the street, Joe falls into an open manhole. This leads him to a place called, ‘The Great Beyond’; basically the after life. He doesn’t want to die because of his big gig, so he manipulates the system and decides to go back into another realm called, ‘The Great Before’.

Tina Fey who played 22 in the film, ‘Soul’.

In ‘The Great Before’ he meets a soul named 22 who hasn’t received her purpose yet. 22 is the kind of soul that doesn’t really want to live, she believes that she has no purpose, that living is dumb, and thinks that something might be wrong with her. After they both meet each other, Joe is 22’s mentor, thus they have to find 22’s ‘Spark’ (her purpose). Wherefore they get sent to a place by Jerry, where they first have to look through Joe’s memories to help 22 get her Spark (her purpose). When looking through his memories, 22 notices that the memories aren’t Joe’s but a therapist named, Bjorn T. Borgensson. So 22 takes his hand and places his hand on a human scanner and at that point we see Joe’s real memories.

When Joe and 22 are looking through each memory, Joe starts to see that his life is not everything he thought it was. He was really confused because he thought that his life was pretty successful and at least joyful, but it wasn’t. In the movie once Joe has seen all of his memories, his face changes from excited, shocked, to, “My life was meaningless”. As soon as he says this, he then sees himself in a hospital bed in a coma and basically says that he is not going to deal with haveing a pointless life and vows to get back.

The next scenes really illustrates how Disney and Pixar explains what it actually means to live! In the next scene we see Joe and 22 searching for 22’s ‘Spark’ in the, ‘Hall of Everything’! 22 is the kind of soul that doesn’t want to go to earth, so she is very sarcastic about wanting to live and go through the whole process of getting her ‘Spark’. No shocker – they leave with 22 not finding her ‘Spark’, which is ironic because she didn’t really try and she doesn’t really know what it’s like to live. After they leave ‘The Hall of Everything’, they end up in “The Zone”. You know that place where us humans really get into the feeling of what we are doing, that is what it’s called – the heart of what we think of when we hear the word “soul”.

In here they meet Moonwind and a lost soul who held on to his anxieties and obsessions which leaves them lost and disconnected from life – which if we are paying attention, many of us feel daily. Moonwind and his soul friends bring the soul over to a crown chakra, and help him reconnect to their bodies with a bright and happy soul! When they are still in, ‘The Zone’, Moonwind tells Joe that although the zone can be enjoyable, the joy can become an obsession and then one becomes disconnected from their life, that nothing matters anymore besides being in the zone.

For Joe to reconnect his soul with body (because he is technically dead) he has to imagine silence and basically meditate; crown chakra. Once Joe found his body to reconnect with on earth, he jumped right into his body but accidentally knocked 22 into his body too, wherefore Joe goes into the cat on the hospital bed where he is laying and 22 goes into Joe’s body. After this happens Joe and 22 goes to Joe’s apartment while they are discussing what Joe’s suit for tonight’s performance, Connie (one of Joe’s band students) knocks on the door and says, “I quit”. When 22 hear this, she opens the door and leaves Joe and goes out to talk to Connie. When 22 leaves, Connie sits down on the stairs of the apartment and Connie is confused whether or not she should quit. She asks 22 to listen to her play her trombone, and if she sounded bad, then she would quit; but when Connie started playing, she fell into the zone and felt peaceful and 22 started to notice that maybe she could find her purpose in this life too. Connie came to the apartment to quit and she didn’t. This also shows us that sometimes we quit too fast and we miss the beauty of what we have and what we can do. This is a good interpretation of how Disney and Pixar bring the characters to life and to know what it actually means to live fully!

Soul brings a feeling of love and passion to my heart. When I started the movie, I thought this was going to be one of those Disney/Pixar movies that doesn’t really hit deep, but this movie brings the tissues and the feeling of warmth. When I continued watching the movie, I started to feel the passion of the movie; there is one part in the film that really touched me: when Joe Gardner says that if he died without playing jazz, his life would amount to nothing. So, when you are up on a Ferris wheel or on a roller coaster, just breathe and take it all in; life comes and goes, and you don’t want to miss it! Don’t take your first breath of the morning for granted! Just live! Do whatever, whenever, so you completely live, because we are not in a movie-we don’t get a second chance, and we are not in a game where you can get new lives!