It would be safe to say that “Soul (Film)” is no less than an analysis on the spiritual journey of every human being. Though it wraps itself in funny and animated moments, at its core it is making a very philosophical and mature argument. The general perception that exists is that animated films are meant for a younger audience. Though it has a niche audience but still the majority is still unaware about how these films have evolved over the past decade. Surely if “Soul” hadn’t been an animated film, it would have been considered as one of the most original takes on the theory of our existence. The instances and the moments not only reflect authenticity but account for some genuine laughs.
The director Pete Docter has co-written the screenplay. Kemp Powers and Mike Jones. Jamie Foxx is the voice behind Joe Gardner and Tina Fey has done the voice for the character named “22.”
The Premise (Without Spoilers)
Joe Gardner is a piano teacher who aspires to be part of a Jazz band one day. He aspires that one day his name would be taken among the best Jazz Pianists of all times. He is passionate about art. You could say that he is almost obsessed. His mother forces him to take a stable job though. She feels that insurance and financial stability surpasses this mere word called “passion.” But the day Joe Gardner gets an offer letter for the job of a school teacher, destiny decides to be mischievous with him.
There are so many times when you feel that destiny, fate, or any higher power, whosoever governs all the things, is just sitting somewhere with tequila in its hands and enjoying the entertainment show where it injects dilemma inside a human brain and then just lays back to watch him face chaos and confusion.
Joe Gardner gets a call from an old student, the same day he got his school teacher’s offer letter, who offers him to play for Dorothea Williams quartet, an accomplished Jazz band. He goes to the audition and Dorothea loves his performance and invites him to perform with them.
Joe is over the moon. He sees his dreams shaping into reality. It is surreal. He cannot hide his excitement. But just when he thought he had everything sorted and planned out, he meets an unruly customer called “LIFE.”
What happened next was, by all means, unforeseeable and unprecedented. As a viewer, I didn’t expect the narrative to take such a drastic turn. It came as a shock, like a sudden jerk to me. But then I realized that what caused this sudden jerk was a presumption that animated cinema couldn’t expound such mysticism in depth.
The Third Eye
Soul (film) makes an underline effort to make us realise that we should never define ourselves with merely the interests or likes or dislikes that we have. We love food but to make it our identity is just being delusional because it is not.
“I am a foodie“, “football is my life“, these kinds of phrases we hear all the time. But these are the perceptions of a normal eye. We fail to realize that we are much more than that. We like food but our identity encompasses greater pastures than that. We fail to understand the engineering of the human core. We are a part of a much greater process.
“You can’t crush a soul here, that’s what life on earth is for”
If after reading this quote you have any misconceptions then let me tell you that we are still talking about an animated film.
What if I told you that you can observe yourself as a third person would do. What would our actions look like? Will you ever feel that you wasted a hell of a lot of time on things that hold no real significance.
Or would you feel that you could have done something different.
This is how Joe Gardner realizes that there was much more to life than his passion. And 22 finds that there are many nonmaterial aspects to life that he never thought would allure him so much so.
Yes, every human must find their “spark”, but the spark is not the purpose of your life. It is a significant part of your life. Your life goes beyond your passion, your work, your likings, and your dislikings.
“Your life is found in those itsy bitsy moments through which you often pass without even noticing them.”
Life has much more to offer than we think it is capable of. Extremely lucky are those who are able to free themselves from this chain built of false beliefs and presumptions, who break through this fabricated reality and are able to witness the real beauty of moments.
Soul (Animated Film) streaming on Disney+ Hotstar, deals with a much more mature subject line than what an animated film is expected to do generally. Watch it for subtle humor and an extremely innovative and striking narrative.
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