Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.
Movies, when made with loving care, speak to us and help guide us back to the right path from which we strayed. Movies are the epitome of the human condition, what we hope and dream and regret. Soul masterfully blends reality with a bit of fantasy in order to convey an important message about life: don't let anything hinder you from chasing your passions, the things that make you feel alive, because no one knows how long you'll be on this earth. You could be here 30 more years or you could fall into a manhole tomorrow. Stop telling yourself you have plenty of time because, well, you don't. Act now, not when it's too late.
Soul follows an aspiring jazz musician named Joe who has ended up as a music teacher. He loves the kids he teaches but he's miserable at his job. His heart has a deep desire that he and people around him have all said he'd never achieve. He's convinced he'll never be what he wants to be so he quit trying and just settled into a lonely, mundane life. When he finally gets the gig of a lifetime, he falls and finds himself as a soul on the way to the Great Beyond. Unwilling to let himself pass on before his big chance, he makes a run for it in a desperate attempt to get his soul back into his body. Along the way, he encounters an "unborn soul" named 22 who refuses to start her life because she feels it's pointless. Joe must now help 22 find her way so he can find his.
It's absolutely nearly impossible to see this film and not derive meaning out of it. Granted, some people will react differently to it. I was a weepy mess while others may not shed a tear. But what matters is what you take away from it. I'll readily admit that I've felt for a long time that I have no point or purpose, that I'm just a waste of space and air. But Soul's themes helped me realize something. What would the people around me be like if I died tomorrow? Who would be affected? Who would remain unchanged? Above all, what would I be missing out on? Everybody hits slumps in life. It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, living the dream or chasing it. Everyone has had a setback or two. What matters is figuring out a solution and moving forward and living what time you have left. Wallowing, dreading, hating...none of these things does anyone any good. Of course, it's nearly impossible to be happy all the time, and don't we get annoyed at the people who are! But we must persevere otherwise we'll end up dying with regrets and that's the true tragedy.
I didn't mean to preach a sermon in this review, but hey, if Soul helped me realize all of this...what will it help you realize? What will it tell you? Everyone gets a different message with these types of films. Pixar hasn't let me down yet. They have a top-notch team of writers and animators who pour their hearts and souls into their creations and in turn inspire millions of people with their work. Disney may have made some controversial decisions, especially in recent days, but Soul is one of the best decisions they have ever made.
In conclusion, check this film out. It's currently on Disney+, no extra cost. Brilliant, moving, and powerful, Soul is a masterful film that's sure to touch everyone's hearts. I give the film a 4 out of 4.
© 2020 Nathan Jasper