Finding the Spark: Movie Review of Disney Pixar’s “Soul”

Photo Credit: Disney/Pixar

Sam Travis 

Staff Writer

stravis1@umassd.edu

Pixar movies have a great reputation of reaching people’s hearts. Their movies are made for children, yet also have humor adults can relate to, suddenly making movies people all ages can enjoy. So when they released their newest movie “Soul,” there was no doubt it was going to be the next big family movie. Soul is a touching and humorous movie, celebrating the meaning of life. 

Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx), is a middle school band teacher with a passion for playing piano and jazz music. He enjoys teaching, but his real dream is to be a jazz musician. So when he gets the opportunity to play with jazz legend, Dorothea Williams, it seems all of his dreams have come true. Suddenly he falls down a sewage pipe, his body separating from his soul. 

When he wakes up, he finds that his soul is heading for The Great Beyond, otherwise known as death. He escapes and lands in The Great Before, where unborn souls prepare for their journey to Earth. Pretending to be a mentor for unborn souls, Joe is assigned Soul 22 (Tina Fey) who has been in the Great Before for  years and sees no point living on Earth. Joe must help 22 find her “Spark,” or meaning to live, where she will be given a patch to live on Earth, which Joe plans to steal to return to his body. When 22 fails to find her Spark, they go to “The Zone,” a place where people enter a spiritual trance, but also become obsessed with their passions and become lost souls. They also meet Moonwind, who rescues lost souls in the Zone and helps Joe back into his body. However, Joe accidentally brings 22 along with him. 

Back on Earth, 22  is in Joe’s body and Joe is in the body of a hospital therapy cat. They find Moonwind and he says he can transfer Joe back into his body before Joe’s show that night. 22 starts to enjoy life on Earth, finding her Spark and wants to stay in Joe’s body. When they finally get back to the Great Before, 22’s Earth patch has been filled out, to which Joe angrily says she only found because of him. Upset, 22 gives the patch to Joe, which he takes, restoring him back in his body. 

Back on Earth, Joe learns performing is not as fulfilling as he dreamed it would be. He learns the Spark is not a passion, but the willingness to live. He plays his piano and enters the Zone again, finding 22 has become a lost soul. Convincing her she is ready to live, she returns to normal, soon entering Earth again. Joe, prepared to enter the Great Beyond, is given another chance on Earth, determined to enjoy every minute of life that he can. 

While “Soul” is different from past Pixar movies, it delivers a beautiful message to its audience. Finding the Spark is not through passion or purpose, but through enjoying life and enjoying the little things. It is the little things in life that fulfill the soul and make someone human. “Soul,” is a movie that gives someone hope about life, during a time when the meaning of life is so confusing and blurred. 

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