Friday, January 15, 2021

Movie Review: Disney-Plus’ ‘Soul’ has heart and well, soul

By Matt Pascarella

Joe (Jamie Fox) was born to play music; from the moment he wakes up in the morning to the moment he falls asleep, music is all he thinks about and his reason for living. What began as the best day of his life, takes a sudden turn when he ends up in another dimension that could be headed toward death. Joe must find his way back to Earth in time for his gig with the famous Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett). This is another Pixar homerun and a movie both kids and adults can enjoy.

Joe is a part-time music teacher at a school. He gets the opportunity to become a full-time music teacher but is hesitant to take the job because of his love of playing gigs. Joe is overjoyed when he gets the opportunity to play with the Dorothea Williams Quartet, something he’s wanted his entire life. He’s so excited, he falls down a manhole and lands himself in the Great Before, a holding pattern for the soul. Joe is terrified and wants to return to Earth. He is told that finding your spark gets you to Earth.

Joe gets paired with 22 (Tina Fey) who has been in the Great Before for a while and has no desire to put in the effort it takes to leave.

“Can’t crush a soul here, that’s what Earth is for,” she says.

Joe helps 22 find a reason to get to Earth. In the process, they learn lessons about passions, obsessions, depression and joy. Eventually, the two make it into bodies on Earth – though it’s not the way they intended. You’ll have to watch the movie to see whose bodies they end up in.

The two must work together to right this wrong and get Joe back in time to play with Dorothea. While in a body, 22 realizes Earth might not be so bad. She wants to find her purpose.

When the two are taken back to the Great Beyond, 22 realizes she might have missed her chance to live a life on Earth. And Joe still needs to get back for his gig.

What will happen to Joe and 22? Will they ever make it to Earth? Will Joe be to his gig on time?

I was somewhat on the fence about this movie; Pixar usually does an exceptional job, but not every movie they’ve made is a winner. Not to fear, “Soul” is a definite winner. It’s a movie the whole family can enjoy with subject matter that works on both levels. It’s heartfelt with humor too. 22 has an especially funny line about messing with the New York Knicks for years (as she makes them miss a shot). Sorry if you’re a Knicks fan. This movie has great lessons about friendship, finding your spark, finding your purpose and finding/doing what you love to make the most out of life. It stresses the importance of being thankful and living life to the fullest.

This is a feel-good movie I highly recommend. It also has a great soundtrack. Several music notes up. <

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