SOUL – “An exquisite existential journey”
Pete Docter (Inside Out – 2015)
- Jamie Foxx as Joe Gardner
- Tina Fey as 22, a soul trapped in the Great Before
- Phylicia Rashad as Libba Gardner
- Daveed Diggs as Paul
- Angela Bassett as Dorothea Williams
- Graham Norton as Moonwind
- Rachel House as Terry
Joe is a middle-school band teacher whose life hasn't quite gone the way he expected. His true passion is jazz -- and he's good. But when he travels to another realm to help someone find their passion, he soon discovers what it means to have soul.
An exquisite existential journey, Soul is yet another bright spot for the Disney Pixar catalogue. But - are the thoughtful metaphysics going to be too much for kids? Maybe. The movie does do a nice job of cloaking the big life and death themes in cute/easily accessible terms and ideas. That is to say, it’s not overly complicated stuff (but hey, that’s coming from a grown man). What kids will surely gravitate to, however, are the movie’s bold visual wonders. In fact, we get two very distinct worlds here – a “real world” and a “fantastical realm” – and frankly, they are both beautifully depicted. The fantasy elements are surely ambitious, but again, it’s done in a harmlessly enjoyable fashion. Jamie Foxx and Tina fey also make for a fun pair, giving their respective characters some lively reads. Throw in a funky jazz soundtrack, a flurry of life lessons, and a handful of pleasant surprises, and you’ve got the year’s biggest (and likely best) animated achievement!