The latest feature of Pixar entitled Soul is heartwarming, uplifting, and really shows us how to embrace all the little things that life has to offer. It is about a middle school teacher named Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) who has a lot of heart and soul when it comes to playing the piano. After he gets the opportunity of his lifetime to audition and play for Dorthea Williams (Angela Bassett)—a praising jazz legend. This becomes Joe Gardner’s big break and fulfills him with complete joy— the moment where he feels that he's on top of the world. Gardner shows us the complete beauty of jazz as well. Especially during the big moment of his audition and where he got lost into his music, shows to always let our passion guide the way.
Unfortunately, his new chapter to fame is cut short because he suddenly falls into hole on a construction site. After Gardner enters the world called “The Great Beyond”, he ultimately refuses to die before his big leap forward as an upcoming jazz artist. Gardner also becomes determined to escape that other realm to return back home to make his dreams come true. During his many trials and errors to go back home, Gardner meets an unborn soul named 22 (Tina Fey) who refuses to ignite her spark because she is ultimately scared to live a life in our day to day world. This character 22 becomes very relatable because she consistently tries to find her spark throughout the film or another meaning of discovering one’s life purpose before living.
The definite pros of this film is that it has many empowering messages and lessons that we can learn (even grow) from. However, for the cons there are many plot holes, such as one of Gardner’s students, Connie, loves playing the trombone but questions herself many times if she should pursue it or not. Another plot hole is the ending itself because it can be confusing, unclear, and a little controversial according to some of its audience. It was critiqued due to committing some acts that fulfill fantasies instead of illustrating realities. Despite some of these problematic issues, the golden message outweighs all the negatives and makes this movie a must-see. Tina Fey, who plays 22, and Jamie Foxx, who plays Joe Gardner, are comedic gold and display a great bond as they discover the meaning of life together.
Sometimes as the audience, we tend to ask ourselves what is the meaning of life? So I believe that this film attempts to give us most of the answers that we’ve been searching for, from the lens of an animation illustration— a story that has never been seen or told like this before. Another highlight is that it has original and iconic quotes that are greatly applauded. Some of my favorite lines throughout the film was:
“I’m going to live every minute of it.”
“Lord knows we need more teachers in this world.”
“I'm just afraid that if I died today, then my life would have amounted to nothing.”
“I was born to play.”
Besides some of its memorable quotes, some of the lessons I have learned from Pixar’s Soul are so meaningful, inspiring, and heart-warming such as some of these listed down below.
Learn to appreciate the little moments in life a lot more because they usually always mean the most. This lesson of appreciation was depicted from 22’s enjoyment of listening to the sound of music, the scent of delicious food, or catching a leaf in the palm of her hand. These little moments are often the most simple things that people sometimes take for granted.
Learn to take a leap of faith sometimes. Live your life to the fullest without any regrets. There were moments that Joe Gardner felt like a failure or felt a sense of incompletion. Fortunately, the success from his audition shows us that he always had the talent within himself; he just never had the courage to actually go for it. So let’s not be afraid of greatness—go for it every opportunity that comes your way!
You do not have to discover who you really are overnight. Sometimes your life purpose (or your spark) will not ignite overnight. Do not forget to always remind yourself it is okay to take time to rediscover who you really are and what you really want out of life.
Always let your passion and heart guide your talents. Do not be afraid to express to the world of who you really are.
Never let anyone stop you from achieving your dreams; be bold, be brave, but more importantly be yourself.
These lessons that were learned from the movie Soul taught me how to appreciate life a lot more and really embrace every second of it. During these difficult times we often almost lose hope and faith sometimes but this film completely changed my perspective. Life is beautiful but often too short, so never take it for granted. Go for a hike. Ask out that special someone. Go pursue your biggest goal. Watch the stars shine. Hug your friends. Tell your family that you love them. Do whatever it takes to make your heart most happy. This film definitely shines a new light on living, can make one more resilient for the new year, and can internally sparked a new outlook on life.