Life is to be lived fully, or not lived at all! Disney Pixar’s latest flick Soul preaches just that in a manner that you end up wanting to enjoy life as it is meant to be.

It follows the life of Joe Gardener (Jamie Foxx), who is a jazz pianist waiting for his ‘big break’. When celebrated musician Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett) picks him to be a part of her band, his life changes for the better but the happiness is short-lived as he meets an accident and ends up in the ‘Great Beyond’.

Will he be able to make it back in time for his first concert or be stuck with mentoring ‘22’ (Tina Fey) in the ‘Great Before’, Soul is about discovering yourself despite all hardships.

Directed by Pete Docter – the man who gave us Monsters Inc., Up and Inside Out –Soul explains the concept of life and death to younger audiences in a ‘soulful’ manner. There is no preaching about good or bad, but about enjoying life, finding a purpose, and discovering yourself in the process.

Through Joe Gardener’s character, we get to know that it was his father who helped him become a jazz lover, and he made it his job to do the same to others, be it his students in music class or the hopeless 22 in the ‘Great Before’. Not only does the movie explain the importance of a mentor in one’s life, but it also ignites a spark within the viewers that might take them in the right direction.

Here, the ‘Great Beyond’ is the final destination, whereas the ‘Great Before’ is the place where souls get their personalities before they come into this world. Interesting if you come to think of it, isn’t it? What helps more is the perfect depiction of our lives on the screen, made more realistic due to the near-perfect animation that sets the Earth different from both the Great Before and Beyond. The execution of all the worlds is so beautiful that you feel you are in ‘The Zone’ most of the time.

Add to that the presence of renowned voices such as Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Angela Bassett and Graham Norton, and you get to meet an ensemble voice cast that might not get assembled any time soon. And when so many big names collaborate, it ends up in something as magical as Soul, an animated flick that tells you that every life has a meaning, and finding the spark is all you have to do.

So don’t feel disheartened about getting a bad grade or not being able to hang out with your friends; the purpose in your life has already been decided in the ‘Great Before’. All you have to do is try different things and hang on to the one that makes you feel comfortable.

Published in Dawn, Young World, March 13th, 2021

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