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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Disney’s Soul: A lovely, timely metaphysical movie

While Soul has predictable beats, its execution is near-perfect. It is not only visually stunning, but also engages and entertains whilst asking us heavy existential questions.

Written by Anvita Singh | New Delhi | Updated: December 28, 2020 10:05:50 pm
soulSoul is streaming on Disney Plus Hotstar. (Photo: Disney Plus Hotstar)

‘What is your life’s mission?’ This is a simply-worded question that is so loaded. We often wonder about this, or are frequently asked about it by well-wishers. The purpose of life. Some find it, and some figure it out along the way. Soul is a Disney-Pixar movie that is based on that one-line question.

Directed and co-written by acclaimed filmmaker Pete Docter, Soul is a perfect New Year’s watch. And of course, it has to be said that the timing of the release is perfect too. We never thought our lives would be disrupted this way. The prevailing feeling remains one of dread, uncertainty and loss. And Soul probes these subjects with its gentle fingers, forcing us to look inside ourselves. It is a metaphysical movie that is absolutely lovely to look at. But what is more significant about the film is that it raises important questions about life and its meaning, without coming off as high-handed or preachy.

The talented Jamie Foxx voices Joe Gardener, a middle-school band teacher who is passionate about jazz and dreams of playing it in the biggest club of the town. He ultimately gets to do it, but that doesn’t fill him up as he had hoped. So what is next for Joe? He then meets Tina Fey’s unborn soul 22, who doesn’t want anything to do with mortality or human life. Joe’s mission then becomes to induce a sense of wonder and curiosity into her. But does he succeed? Like so many good movies, the main selling point of the film is not the answer to this million-dollar question. The answer lies in the journey that Joe and 22 take. I know words like ‘journey,’ ‘self-discovery’ are thrown around with a disarming nonchalance in this day and age. But Soul is not about cliches. It really was inspiring to see the lead characters unveil the secret to life. And what is that, you may ask. Very simply put, it is in the very act of living.

While Soul has predictable beats, its execution is near-perfect. It is not only visually stunning, but also engages and entertains whilst asking us heavy existential questions. It has some laugh-out-loud moments as well as sweet background music, courtesy Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. All in all, a wonderful watch. Soul stayed with me long after I was done with the film, and that is a mark of a truly moving movie. There was one sequence where we see Joe get ‘into the zone’ when he settles down to play an inspired piece on his piano. Let’s just say I shed a few tears.

Soul is streaming on Disney Plus Hotstar.

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