We always set a bar of expectations when we watch a movie for the first time. In the case of Disney Pixar’s Soul, I started the movie hoping to be entertained. But by the time I reached the end, I realised that this movie has left me with much more than that. It taught me crucial lessons and inspired me in ways many movies fail to do. It enlightened me on how beautiful and worthy our lives are, which we don’t appreciate enough.
Soul revolves around the life of Joe Gardner, a music teacher who has been waiting for a moment that will change his whole life. But when that moment is about to take place, his soul ends up in the world of ‘The Great Beyond’ and ‘The Great Before’. The narrative follows the journey of Joe’s soul as it attempts to reunite with his body before that big moment. In this journey, his body mistakenly gets united with the soul of 22, an unborn soul from ‘The Great Before’, while Joe’s soul gets trapped in a cat’s body. This mishap brings some of the funniest laughs in the movie. It also plays a crucial role in completing the character arc of Joe.
Soul sends a universal message of cherishing the little moments in life, which we commonly perceive as regular old living like Joe does. When 22 gets to live for the first time in Joe’s body, she finds joy in even the ordinary and mundane things like devouring the first bite of a pizza, listening to the music on the subway, eating lollipops like a little kid, getting a haircut, and making connections with others. This eventually leads to an epiphany for Joe when he realizes that he has got nothing but disappointment by linking his happiness with a big moment, while that happiness was ever-present in his life. It includes all the nostalgic memories, like the time he had spent with his parents and seen them grow old, the time he witnessed the colourful fireworks in the sky, and the time he felt the seawater touch his feet while he held his partner close to him.
I completely resonate with this message. Throughout my life as well, I have been waiting for certain moments, hoping I would end up having an extraordinary experience. But these ‘big moments’ have not impacted me much. And now, when I look back, I can notice that what makes me feel good and gives me the power to keep going are those little moments that have happened in between.
Soul encapsulates themes such as existentialism and the afterlife so skilfully that one cannot help but appreciate its magic. Along with being heartwarming, it will ask you to take a pause and contemplate the way you live. If I have to sum up the change I have seen in myself after watching this movie, I would say that this movie has made me ‘jazzing’ to the music of life.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.