Director: Pete Docter and Kemp Powers
Soul was a movie with some surprisingly deep topics while being targeted at children. With a combination of colourful settings, fun and interesting characters, and both simple and complex themes, Soul has something for everyone. Not only will children enjoy the movie for the colours and funny moments, but the adults watching with their kids will enjoy the deep topics explored through the story.
Soul was a fun experience that many people should give a chance. With interesting themes and topics, those who wish to delve deeper into these topics will find enjoyment. The colourful palette of this movie will also keep children’s attention, as they watch this movie about life and death. Now, the only downside of this movie is the pacing. Since Soul is mainly focused on the story, and there is no external conflict with another character, there aren’t many exciting moments, which may feel like a drag to watch sometimes.
When it comes to the start of a movie, I have to say that the intro of this movie was quite well done. It gave a clear characterization of Joe and his passion for music. I especially liked his anecdote about the person losing himself to music, which was a beautiful moment. It also highlights Joe’s passion for music, which is important to his character. Joe is a starving musician, which is an interesting take for a protagonist.
On the other hand, Sould 22, known as 22, was an interesting counterpart to Joe. Where Joe found purpose and meaning in his life on Earth, 22 refuses to be reborn. Now, when the two get paired together, I liked how 22 forces Joe to rethink his own life. It gives Joe that retrospective of everything he’s been through and what he wants to become. In the process of giving 22 her spark, Joe learns something about himself, which is a beautiful piece of storytelling.
When it comes to 22 herself, I like her nonchalant attitude and blatant disregard for her situation. Where Joe is desperate to return to Earth, 22’s attitude is a nice shift. The two play off each other really well, as they both have something the other doesn’t; Joe’s positive outlook on life, and 22’s cynicism.
When it comes to the plot, I think the whole-body switch plotline was an interesting angle for this type of movie. By switching bodies, 22 is able to find her answers to all her questions before obtaining his Earth pass. Her naïve attitude perfectly brings up all these deeper issues too.
I think my favourite instance of this is when 22, in Joe’s body, gets the haircut at Dez’s. That whole scene brought up a bunch of philosophical questions that are interesting to think about. What’s my purpose? Why am I here? Those are just a few things Soul delves into. These questions would obviously go over children’s heads when watching, but these questions would be interesting to the older audience watching this movie to ponder.
I think the next most impactful scene has to be Joe’s outburst with his mother. Joe realizes what he wants in life and he isn’t scared to back down. Now, this whole scene with his mother was quite interesting. On one hand, I think living to fulfill your dreams is a great motivator to make meaning in this meaningless world. But at the same time, I understand Joe’s mother’s skepticism. If you aren’t careful, the burning passion of your dreams can burn you. To live a full life is to have a balance between the two.
Now, the final thing I want to mention is the final theme mentioned in the movie. The final reveals that the spark isn’t a purpose. In a way, you are never given a purpose. The spark just means you’re ready to live. Your purpose is found while you live on Earth.
What I liked about this reveal is the implications it has on all of us. We create meaning in this world. We find what we are passionate about. What we are and aren’t good at isn’t given to us by some divine power. Now, latent talent exists, but at the end of the day, it’s what you decide is important that gives you purpose, which is a beautiful theme.
Overall, Soul was an interesting movie filled with a surprising number of deep themes. Not only are there themes for older audiences to think about, but the final message of the movie is quite powerful. Now, for the younger audiences, the colourful palette and comedic moments will definitely keep them entertained. My only warning is that the movie can be slow at some moments, but if you’re looking to rethink life, this is a good place to start.