Soul was a beautifully written animated film, following the life of an aspiring jazz musician who landed a full time job as a music teacher, whilst desperately seeking the unpredictable world of the jazz club. When he found himself as an embodied soul on the ladder up to the end of life, he realised that his life can’t be over – not now, not when he had caught the attention of a well-known jazz musician and had a chance to play alongside them, not when he had a slight chance at achieving his lifelong dream. It’s only when he met 22 – a pre-life soul who couldn’t seem to find her final trait to make it to earth – that he began to realise what life really means, and what it means to truly live it.
From the very start, Soul is an immersive journey. The ethereal nature of the world created, alongside the characters full of wit and personality, make it a unique film that highlights questions about how we as humans come into being – how souls are nourished, sent to earth, and leave our bodies. Whilst it may not be something everyone believes in, it’s certainly an interesting concept to think about.
As a lover of music, I deeply connected to this film – the fact that I love and really admire jazz, the main character played the same instrument as me – piano, and the philosophical aspect of souls entering “the zone” when they are deeply enthused in something, such as playing a musical instrument. But the overall message of the film was really empowering and is what made me really step back and see how significant this film is in helping anyone see the simple beauty in their own life – what has always been sitting right in front of them.
When 22 entered Joe’s body, she’d never been a human before. She saw the world in a way that was fresh, new, childlike and wonderful. Joe said to her “you only enjoyed life because you were in MY body” and yet when he returned to his body he realised that it wasn’t the same, and that achieving his dream didn’t feel how he thought it would – as it often does when we chase a success thinking it will fill our sense of purpose, but the purpose is in the journey and life itself.
22 didn’t enjoy life because she was in Joe’s body; she enjoyed life because she looked at it, lived in it, and saw it for more than what it was. She noticed the little leaf that fell from the tree; she appreciated the yarn that went into fixing the suit; she demolished a pizza slice like it’s the first and only slice she’d ever had. She appreciated what a lot of us overlook in our everyday life because we’re too wrapped up in what we think are bigger problems and bigger priorities. And THAT’S what made the soul alive.
Joe having this significant realisation at the end of the film was a really huge moment – it’s something I deeply resonated with. I had a similar mind transformation when undergoing a difficult time in my life, one where I found my mindset inextricably shift from that of a negative and passive view on life to a perspective that life is meaningful only because we make it so, only because we wake up and choose to appreciate and be grateful for the small things. And seeing something so personal animated before me felt really emotional but also so happy that so many people can likewise get a glimpse of what it feels like to see your life in a different light, from the other side of the pavement, from the soul that shines gently on the corner of the street and says “Hey, it’s time to live.”
Have you seen Soul?
Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below.