Pixar’s new animated feature, “Soul,” is a beautiful, introspective film about life’s purpose. With its mix of creativity and meaning, it achieves a level of maturity that other Pixar films haven’t quite hit yet.
The heartwarming movie was released on Dec. 25th, 2020 which was the perfect time for viewers who were trapped indoors and away from loved ones, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to watch the movie. Number 22 (voiced by Tina Fey) perfectly embodies many of our experiences and feelings throughout 2020, capturing a sense of uncertainty for life. Along with this, it’s discussions of life’s true purpose relates to those who have been struggling with finding their passion.
The film is about two main characters: Joe (voiced by Jamie Foxx) , who doesn’t want to die before achieving his biggest dream, and 22 who, without ever having lived, is already tired of the world and does not want to be born. However, Joe eventually finds out the true meaning of a spark while 22 later becomes enthralled by the simple joys of life.
Joe and 22’s journey throughout the narrative is a sincere and moving experience. But despite the heart-wrenching story, the real magic lies in its visual animations and representation of black culture.
The movie makes history as having its first Black lead from the animation studio.
Black stories remain underrepresented in American animation, onscreen and off. Director Pete Docter, co-director Kemp Powers, and producer Dana Murray felt it was imperative to ensure Joe’s story is representative of the culture. According to Foxx, the producers consulted with influential figures such as Yo-Yo Ma to make sure that film accurately portrays black culture in a positive way.
One example is the barbershop scene that many black viewers have been talking about as it relates to the significance of barbershops in black communities. This was captured in Joe’s emergency trip to the barbershop after a bad haircut. Co-director Kemp Powers was also adamant about the barber being a black character.
“To me, Joe represents a lot of people who aren’t being seen right now,” said Jamie Foxx. “Joe is in all of us, regardless of color. To be the first Black lead in a Pixar film feels like a blessing, especially during this time when we all could use some extra love and light.”
Overall, it is fair to say that Joe and Number 22 gave an earnest performance that was not only touching but relatable. With great moments of conflict and comedic relief, Soul has comforted the hearts of many and opened a new door for Pixar as well as the representation of black stories in American animation.
Here’s what the FAU community had to say about it:
Let us know down below if you’ve had a chance to watch “Soul” and give us your thoughts on the movie.