Pixar has done it again. Soul is the latest classic and masterpiece from those geniuses at Pixar. It is a unique, incredibly creative story about finding your purpose in life, before life and after life.
There will be some spoilers ahead.
Joe is a high school music teacher who dreams of being a successful jazz musician. After getting the gig of his dreams, Joe dies. He goes to the after life and meets 22 a soul who has yet to be born. Together, the two must figure out a way to get Joe back to his body so that his dreams can finally come true.
There’s just so much here that is amazingly unique and creative. Firstly, the portrayal of New York City is incredible. If you’ve ever been inside a New York City public school, you’d recognize that grungy dirtiness in the movie. They also take a lot of real world New York City locations and portray them accurately. I recognized a lot of the streets in the movie, including a more obscure one from Woodside. I think they may have even chosen real world locations for every scene in the movie. But what I love about the portrayal is that it is a noisy, dirty, grungy, accurate portrayal of New York City and that works wonderfully for the narrative. This is a story about appreciating the beauty of life and Pixar does an amazing job of contrasting that noise with narrative moment of clarity and beauty.
The other thing I loved was their portrayal of the afterlife. It is one of the most unique, hilarious, yet universal portrayals of the afterlife I’ve ever seen. The visuals they use are so abstract, spiritual and conceptual, which is exactly what a higher state of being should be. And yet, it is hilarious. It’s one part philosophical and existential, one part played for laughs. The beings that govern the afterlife all look like they walked out of Picasso paintings and behave like something not from this world. And yet, they have English accents. It’s a wonderfully creative balance between high concept and just funny enough to being enjoyable to children. That’s one of the things Pixar has done well historically; they tell stories complex enough for adults, but enjoyable for children as well.
Overall, this movie was fantastic. It’s an instant classic and enjoyable for audiences of all ages. In my opinion this movie easily ranks up there with movies like Coco and Ratatouille.