UK Release: 25/12/2020
Directed by: Pete Docter
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Richard Ayoade, Graham Norton
What makes us human? Our mind? Our body? Our Soul?
Pixar’s Soul takes a deep dive into what makes us tick by examining the life and existence of music teacher, Joe (played by Jamie Foxx).
And it’s all about what he really wants out of life.
Joe plays the piano – not just well. He’s incredible. But after chasing a career as a musician, he ends up teaching high school music.
But he dreams bigger.
Soon enough, Joe lands the audition of a lifetime – to play with Dorothea Williams, a jazz legend.
It’s what he’s always dreamed of, and what he’s always wanted. But with a spring in his step and his head in the clouds, Joe doesn’t quite make it to the audition.
One wrong foot and it’s game over – Joe awakes to find he’s left the land of the living and is now a disembodied blue floating soul.
Jamie Foxx plays these moments incredibly, with the sheer panic and desperation of a man who has just found out he’s dead.
But it’s not long before he tries to cheat the system and get back to the one thing that matters – his audition.
It’s funny – the anthropomorphic blobs and squiggles that look after all the souls could have been almost entirely devoid of any kind of emotion.
Thankfully, there’s a lot more to it, with some excellent voice work from the likes of Rachel House and Richard Ayoade.
But the real star of the show is 22 (played by Tina Fey) – a young soul who has spent eternities in the before life.
That’s right – she’s never even been born.
Tina Fey plays it perfectly. 22 is stroppy and annoying and can’t be bothered with the hassle of living a life on Earth.
That’s played for laughs, of course, with even the most famous philosophers, religious leaders and scientists failing to help her find her purpose.
It’s down to Joe to help her, so that he can trick his way back to his life.
But it’s just not that simple.
I have to admit, Soul really shines when it comes to its relationships. The friendship between Joe and 22 is wonderful and grows naturally as the two get to learn more about each other.
And the laughs come thick and fast as they get into a variety of scrapes.
I worried slightly when Joe’s soul ended up in a cat but was doubled over laughing within minutes.
Of course, music plays a huge part in Soul.
The score is wonderful, taking a swing and a scat through the jazz that Joe loves. As someone who grew up with parents who loved jazz and soul, it was a very welcome move.
But the real crux of Soul is that it’s a film about finding out who we are.
Joe questions what’s important to him throughout the movie and comes to realise a lot about himself in the process.
Does he need to be a jazz superstar to change the world?
Perhaps he can make a big difference to those already around him.
It’s a lesson we can all learn, and Soul manages to lay it bare without coming across as condescending. There are life lessons here, but it’s still a joyous, soulful movie.
And it’s another hit for Pixar.
Soul heads to Disney+ on 25 December 2020.