“Soul”: A Dive into Human Emotions/by Meredith Stratmann

On Christmas Day, the movie “Soul”was released on Disney+ and immediately became beloved.After seeing it over the break, I recently sat down to rewatch it with my roommate. It was just as good the second time.“Soul”has a similar feel to “Inside Out,” which were both produced by Pixar and then released by Disney.

 Focused on a New Yorker’s jazz dreams, “Soul” offers real insight into human emotions, friendships, and what makes people tick. The movie begins with protagonist Joe Gardner teaching an unenthusiastic group of middle school band students. Their playing is off-key and none of the students seem to care. Someone even throws a paper airplane. Finally, one student truly shines in her solo, and Joe is reminded of his first jazz concert when he fell in love with the genre. His dream is to perform, but he’s stuck teaching to pay the bills. 

From there, the plot steers in a more obscure, celestial direction. It deals with life before and after death, as well as defining moments here on earth. If you’re a theology buff, you may take issue with how these circumstances are portrayed. It really is like “Inside Out,” except instead of delving into Riley’s mind, we’re looking at a different fantasy land of before and after life. 

There are major themes throughout that really related to me as a college student working to establish my identity. “Soul” looks at what sparks people as well as one’s purpose in life. Joe, as well as other key characters, are often pushed to look inward. Concepts of how one views oneself, as well as how others view them are explored. There are undertones of the internal fight between being selfish and selfless. Overall, a realistic look into human emotions is prevalent throughout the entire movie. 

Because “Soul” truly does capture different mental states, the comical moments pack a punch. There are jokes alluding to some of life’s less fortunate moments. I would be lying if I said I didn’t laugh frequently. Even with some tender and thought-provoking moments, there is no shortage of comedy. 

On par with other Pixar productions, the animation and attention to detail is astounding. Even more difficult animations like the way a cat moves and Joe’s hands as he plays the piano are exquisite. I was completely swallowed up by “Soul” and sometimes had to remind myself that someone had to think to put those details in. 

While some of the plot takes place in an imaginary world, the story flows well. “Soul” is exciting, and the viewer is curious about what will happen next. The movie is full of imagination, yet it doesn’t stray so far that it seems ridiculous.  Overall, I’m a big fan of movies that make you ponder concepts and feel different ways. “Soul” is not lacking in these departments, and combined with the comedy, I think it is a cinematic masterpiece. If you haven’t already seen it already, find a friend with Disney+ and watch it soon!

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