“Soul” Highlights Meaningful Life Lessons

“To live isn’t the same thing as to have a life.” These words of wisdom are one of the inspirational messages of the new Disney Plus movie, Soul. Joe Gardner is a middle school band teacher whose life hasn’t worked out the way he wanted it to. His true passion is jazz, and being a professional jazz musician is his ultimate goal. But when he has a near death experience by falling into a sewer in the middle of New York City, right after getting the gig of a lifetime, leads him to another world. In this alternate universe, he has to help an unborn soul find its true meaning, so he can return back home. Joe soon discovers his purpose in life.

When Joe falls into a deep dark manhole, he ends up in a place called The Great Beyond. After falling, he panics because he thinks he has died. The Great Beyond is a huge dark walkway where souls are lined up before reaching the white light — the after life. Mid panic, Joe exclaims, “I’m not going to die the very day I got my shot!” So he flees in the other direction, falls off the walkway, and ends up in a brightly colored zone known as The Great Before. The purpose of the Great Before is to mentor new souls so they can find their “spark” before entering their own life . Joe is motivated to go back to earth, so he can play in the jazz gig he has strived for his whole life. Joe mentors a soul named 22. 22 has rejected the most famous people, including Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein. These people, along with many more, have tried to help 22 find its spark, but none have been able to succeed, often quitting on 22 in exasperation. All of 22’s mentors can’t help her find her spark … until Joe.

The message of this movie is to appreciate life more and to try to look from different perspectives to make life more enjoyable.

— Rikki Newman

Joe soon wakes up in a hospital bed with his soul inside of a cat and 22’s soul inside of his body. He is given an opportunity to look back at his life and change what he will do in the future. When living in the real world with switched souls, he realizes that he’s always been self centered and only talks about what he is interested in. He also figures out that his life was boring, and he is determined to become someone with a life worth living. He feels he hasn’t done what he wants to do. In the end, when Joe gets back to his soul he discovers that he has taken advantage of his life and wants to become someone great and who has truly lived.
I thought Soul was a little disorienting as it went back and forth between alternate worlds, but it was interesting and different than most Pixar movies. The movie tackles some serious questions that may be scary for kids to think about. Why do I exist? What’s the point of being alive? What comes after? It is rare for children to watch a movie that is so deep and potentially frightening. It tells us that every moment is a present, but it also makes kids think in a new and chilling way. This message can relate to everyone who is viewing this movie and might make them cherish every moment more in their lives.

Rikki Newman, freshman, shares her thoughts on Soul. She says, “The message of this movie is to appreciate life more and to try to look from different perspectives to make life more enjoyable.” She also likes how “the main character realizes how amazing life could be and to take things slow to enjoy them”.

Isabella Gentry, freshman, explains her views. She says, “The message of the movie was to live every moment of life to the fullest”. Isabella liked the movie because “it shows what will happen if you don’t live your life up to its potential”.
Although the movie Soul was a little chaotic, the message at the end was unique and interesting. With going in and out of different worlds and switching souls, Joe and 22 finally found their spark in life after their long, exciting and new journey.