The best movies are the ones that make you pause and think about things … After watching Soul, I was overwhelmed with a series of thoughts and realizations that I didn’t know could be evoked from watching an animated movie. In my eyes, this movie has to be up there in the all-time best-animated films category alongside the likes of Ratatouille, The Lion King, UP, Toy Story, etc. If you don’t take my word for it, 95% on Rotten Tomatoes speaks for itself.
The movie does start out pretty slow, and if you don’t stick with it, I see where people could be disappointed. Once you get into the movie it grabs all of your attention and will force you to think about little things that you may never have thought about.
The story of Soul revolves around Joe Gardner, a middle school music teacher who is passionate about Jazz and desperate for a gig to jumpstart his career in the music industry. One day, he hears of an audition for a role in a band with Dorothea Williams, a jazz superstar. He goes to audition and gets the role due to his talents. As he runs home excited to get started with this role, he falls into a construction hole. At this moment, he has ultimately reached the end of his life, marked by his soul queuing in the line for the “Great Beyond.” Impassioned by the idea of getting his gig finally and not willing to die just before it, Gardner somehow makes his way into the “Great Before.” In these moments in the afterlife (and beforelife), he is shown glimpses of the moments, choices and experiences that made up his time on Earth. Being able to view them from an outside perspective, Gardner realizes and regrets that he took life for granted and failed to appreciate the little moments while he was there.
As you may get from my short recollection of the film, it is a very timely film for the transition into 2021, and, hopefully sometime soon, out of the era of Covid-19 and quarantine. Quarantine has made me and a lot of others realize that we took life pre-pandemic for granted, failing to enjoy the little moments that we find so hard to come by nowadays. Transitioning into this new year, with all that is ahead of us, this film blessed me with a lot of important principles to live my life by: live in the moment and appreciate the little things, never take anything for granted as today could be your last day, and finally, chase your dreams and do what you love because that is when you are the happiest and fulfilled.