by Arjun Mehrotra
The newest Pixar movie “Soul” is a really interesting one because it strays away from the popular “Children’s” plot that we find everywhere. You can watch this movie on Disney+
Soul follows the story of Joe Gardener, who teaches music in a middle school and whose passion is jazz music. He wants to become a jazz musician but his mother Libba Gardener, who runs a tailor shop, persuades him to take the band teacher job. He then finds that Dorothea Williams, one of the biggest musicians in the city, wants him in her band! Joe is very excited because this has always been his dream, but when he’s on his way to the gig, he dies…
Joe falls down a manhole and is taken to the “Great beyond” but Joe isn’t ready for death, he wants to get back to that gig because his life hasn’t started yet. So he escapes and is transported to the ethereal “Great Before” where souls are prepped to go to earth. He needs to find a way to escape and get back to earth and on his way, he meets 22. 22 is an interesting character because she’s the pessimist in this story, she doesn’t want to go to earth and says that earth is very dim and dull. Joe however has very differing views and exclaims “I can’t die! My life was about to begin!” and so Joe and 22 fall through the portal that sends souls to earth but during the rush of coming back, 22 is put in Joe’s body and he is turned into a cat. And so begins 22’s discovery of life on earth. In the beginning, she doesn’t understand how human motion works but by the end of their journey she begins to like earth, talking to a barber, and simply walking through the streets of new york. In the end, Joe manages to get his gig and 22 starts her human life.
This movie is excellent because even though it talks about mature themes like death and the purpose of life, it conveys it all through a style that children will enjoy as well. In the end, it’s all about Joe’s quest to achieve his goal of being a musician, but the small interactions that he and 22 made along the way, is really beautiful. They discover that your “spark” isn’t just your hobby, it’s your way of life. There’s an amazing scene where 22 and Joe sit on a sidewalk and look at the sunlight while leaves float through the air. The look on 22’s face of discovering the warmth and joy of being on earth, really captures the theme of this movie. The moral is that Joe’s goal wasn’t the biggest thing about this movie, it was just about the joy of living.