Soul: A Movie Review


Elle King

Ellie King, Staff Reporter

Pixar’s new movie Soul was directed by Pete Docter. The movie came out exclusively on Disney Plus on the 25 of December due to COVID-19. The movie opens with Joe Gardener, a long-term substitute teacher desperately trying to conduct a middle school band class. The band is a mess and only a few students look like they care, but Gardener tries his best to teach the kids how much jazz can impact an audience. When Joe gets a check and is told he would start teaching full time, he is downcast. He didn’t want to spend his life as a middle school band teacher. He wants to play jazz on a stage in front of an audience. 

Joe tells his mom about his new full-time job she is ecstatic and relieved that Joe finally got a reliable job.  Afterwards, Gardener gets a call from one of his old students, Curly, asking him to fill in for a gig with Dorthea Williams, a renowned Jazz musician. When Joe arrives at the audition, Dorthea is doubtful about a middle school band teacher in her group, but when she hears him play the piano, she tells the Gardener to get a suit and be at the show by seven. 

Gardener is so excited he calls up his friends and tells them his life is finally starting. Gardener is so preoccupied with the thought of playing with Dorthea Williams, he doesn’t see that he is about to fall into an open manhole. Joe wakes up without his body as a soul- a blue floaty simplified version of joe with his most prominent parts of his character like his glasses and hat.  He finds himself on an escalator leading up to a bright light. The other souls on the escalator tell him that he’s dead and heading to the Great Beyond. Joe, not yet ready to die, frantically runs in the opposite direction and finds himself in the great before. This is where souls get ready to be born. He is then mistaken for a mentor and paired with Soul 22. 22 doesn’t want to be born at all so they make a plan for 22 to get her earth pass so Gardener could take it and go back to earth and 22 wouldn’t have to be born.

Joe had been waiting for his life to start. He believed that in order for his life to mean something he had to make a big impact on the world around him. This is the biggest theme of the movie. Even though Gardener had not made a big impact in his own eyes, other characters such as his students, 22, and even his barber were impacted by joe. He was waiting to start his life, but his life had already started. You can’t wait for your life to start for you, you are responsible for “starting” your own life. You can’t spend your whole life waiting to live.

The thing that Gardener learned is that his life did have a very big impact on the people around him. He also learned that our “spark”, the one thing that you love to do isn’t exactly supposed to be your purpose in life. If you love basketball that doesn’t have to be your purpose to live. 

Even though it is a cute movie, the morals and lessons are very complex and wise. The animation is amazing as well. The soundtrack is really well done and the story is too.