Soul Opening

Audience Raves Over Inspiring “Soul” Message


Sophia Allen

The cover for Pixar’s newest film, Soul, featuring Jamie Foxx as Joe Gardner and Tina Fey as 22.

On Christmas Day, Pixar released their newest animated movie on Disney+; “Soul”. One of the most compelling factors of “Soul” for me is that it is the first Pixar film to have a black protagonist. The story follows a jazz musician named Joe Gardner, voiced by Jamie Foxx, as he looks to reunite his soul with his body after a near-death experience. Along the way, he meets many different characters that help him discover where his passions and dreams originate.
Before watching the movie, I heard about it on TikTok. The movie is going viral after people were inspired by its message. The year 2020 was quite the journey and going into the new year I was hoping to start fresh and work on myself. So after seeing clips from “Soul”, I decided to add it to my watchlist. At first, I was skeptical because most Pixar movies tend to have a cheesy message about life. But once the movie was over, I was left to unpack the eye-opening message of “Soul”.
After Gardner’s near-death experience, his soul is sent to the Great Beyond, which is where souls end up before they go to the “white light”. He is not ready for the end so he flees in another direction and ends up in a place called the Great Before. Everything in the Great Before is two dimensional. Joe learns that the purpose of the Great Before is to teach new souls how to discover their “spark” that allows them to live a happy life on Earth. Eager to get back to his normal life, he disguises himself and mentors a new soul, number 22, voiced by Tina Fey. Like all Pixar movies, “Soul” has a deep theme for the audience to unravel. One of the bigger messages that I took away is to make sure to stop and smell the roses throughout my life. Throughout the movie, Joe is eager to get back to his world. Right before he was in the accident, he was hired for his dream job of playing jazz music in a nightclub. Once he experiences what he thought was his dream, he realizes it does not feel as special as he thought it would. A woman tells him a story about a fish. The fish asked an older fish where the ocean was, to which he responded “this is the ocean”. The younger fish told him that this is water, but what he wanted was the ocean. What I took away from that story was that even if you have achieved your dreams, the only way it will feel worthwhile is if you take a second and stop and appreciate the small moments that lead up to the big ones. That fish achieved its dream of being in the ocean but because he did not take the time to acknowledge the journey, it did not feel right.
I think this movie was a spectacular end to 2020. The world has been through a rollercoaster of ups and downs, just waiting for the year to be over. Like many others, I was not looking forward to 2021 and the unexpected events of the new year . I think that is because we spent so much time just trying to speed through 2020 and get to 2021, but once we got here it did not feel special enough. The message in “Soul” has inspired me to make sure I take time to stop and smell the roses of 2021.