Finding Your Soul

  • January 27, 2021

This Christmas, a new movie was released to Disney+ called Soul. Voiced by Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx, this film follows the story of an average teacher who aspires to  become a jazz musician, Joe Gardner. When Joe gets into an accident, he is brought to a new realm between those alive and those in the afterlife. Joe learns how souls find their passions before heading off to Earth. 

Photo obtained from polygon.com

 Here, he meets a friend named 22 who hasn’t found her purpose yet. Joe’s then brought back onto Earth with 22, so the two can discover their purposes together. Soul covers themes of enjoying the little things in life, making sacrifices for those in greater need than you and living each day to its fullest potential.

“This lovely, funny film, animated gorgeously, asks big questions about life,” says Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal. Upon watching the film, Neil Soans from the Times of India says, “Heartwarming and stirring, 'Soul' celebrates each person's individuality, and being in the moment.” Many enjoyed the movie, the average rating of the movie being 4.6 stars. From its captivating soundtrack to wondrous animation, it’s become a highly recommended film by those who’ve seen it so far.

Although many found the film inspirative and heart-warming, others received it negatively. The main cast of the film is black and voiced by black actors, which raised many peoples’ expectations, as this has not been done many times in the past, especially by Disney. Many say this was still done incorrectly.

Sylin Thai, a freshman, tells us what she thought of the African-American representation in the film. “Among many movies with a black background, many of their characters are portrayed as animals, such as The Princess and the Frog, Spies in Disguise, and now Soul.” In all 3 of the films mentioned by Sylin, it is true that the main protagonists, who are black characters, end up becoming an animal for a large portion of the movie. This has upset lots of people, and many think there are racist undertones to the choices of Pixar.

Photo obtained from Disney.com.au

On the other hand, students at Gahr, such as Josiah Joseph, found the movie entertaining and enjoyed watching it. “Soul was a very well written movie. The music was fantastic - very complex, different, just out of this world. Joe learning that teaching and helping others can be the most fulfilling thing in life was inspiring. The diversity and complexity of the story line was different and I really enjoyed the movie.”

Besides the fact that there are conflicting views on this film based on choices made by the creators and the discrimination towards black people in our society, many agree that the message behind ‘Soul’ is still one worth hearing. Life is short and enjoying every last moment of it, even if it's not exactly what you pictured it to be, is so important. Your life is a beautiful one and that should be celebrated.

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