Disney Pixar’s Soul Addresses Poignant Messages

Ryder Yarbrough

    On December 25, 2020, Disney premiered their newest animated Pixar movie Soul.

    Soul, directed by Pete Docter, who has directed several other successful Pixar movies in the past, including Monster’s Inc., Up, and Inside Out. Soul is now free to watch on Disney+ and is truly an astounding film. 

    The movie begins with a look into the main character’s life. Joe Gardner, voiced by Jamie Foxx,  is a middle school band teacher who has a passion for jazz music. Just as he is offered his first full time job, he receives the invitation of his dreams to play piano in a popular jazz club. However, one misstep transports him from New York City to The Great Before, a place where souls exist to receive their personalities, traits, and more before they travel to Earth. Determined to return, Joe teams up with an unborn soul named 22, voiced by Tina Fey, who has never understood the appeal of living on Earth. Together, they experience life in a new light, and uncover some truths about living.

    Soul’s plot is very well planned and put together, but the messages it conveys are by far what makes the movie so impactful.

    This movie addresses many important life questions, the main ones diving into individual purpose. For example, Joe Gardner was so focused on gaining status and giving his life meaning that he tied his self-worth to his achievements and defined his life by what he accomplished. He believed that playing piano was his purpose in life, and without achieving something great through that his life was meaningless.

    Another large theme Soul addressed was the act of searching for something you already have. Over the course of Joe Gardner’s whole life, he had been waiting for his chance to prove himself to the world. He thought for sure that once he got his chance at success, he would finally get to start leading a happy life. However, once he got his shot and briefly experienced his success, the moment wasn’t nearly as fulfilling as he had dreamed of for so long. He realized that joyous moments, no matter how big or small, occurred every day of his life.

    Soul showed its viewers that they do not have one stand alone purpose in life. The movie showcases a skilled barber, whose dream was once to be a veterinarian. Due to financial problems, the man had to abandon his plan. 22, the unborn soul, is amazed that this man is happy with his job, and that being a barber wasn’t his specific purpose planned out for his life. 

    The messages Soul provides are truly inspiring. They are rather poignant yet hidden for a typical Pixar movie, and most take time to fully grasp. Although Soul’s main themes are deep and reflective, the movie is still kept lively and enjoyable for even young audiences with its many jokes. The themes may strike older age demographics harder, as Joe Gardner is in his 40s, but that doesn’t stop them from being universally relatable.

    The goofy animation and plot may take away slightly from the feeling of seriousness and reality of what Soul is conveying, however that is a small price to pay for such an eye opening experience.

    Soul is by no means the greatest movie of all time, or even Pixar’s greatest success, but it is definitely an unexpected, beautiful work of art.