Soul: A Journey Through the Great Before

Ella Kirkland

The great before. A place where unborn souls reside. Where will they go from there? Earth. 


Disney Pixar’s Soul follows the story of a middle school music teacher, Joe Gardner and his near-death experience. 


With a fast start to the film, Joe prepares for an important music gig, but surprisingly right before the gig, his life is cut shockingly short. He’s caught in the afterlife, regretting and contemplating his decisions on his existence. From there the story takes a twist, Joe travels to the great before or also known as the You Seminar. He’s paired with 22. A hopeless and troublesome, precocious unborn soul. The story peaks when Joe falls in a hole ending up in a talking cat’s body on earth. From there on the story gets quite unusual. Will Joe continue chasing his music dreams or will he realize what it truly means to have a soul? 


That having been said, halfway through the story, it started to drag. It became extremely repetitive, and you never knew when it was going to end. Joe says “I’m going to live every minute of it.” However, I am not quite sure I lived every minute of it. 


Being a fantasy family film, one would imagine the story is far from reality, which it is. However, certain aspects focus on the topic of racial inequality. There are many other significant touches in the film that give evidence to the story’s experience beyond different races, and connections to racial issues today. For instance, there’s a visit to a Black barbershop, which showcases the different styles of Black male hairstyles. To top that off, a joke about the difficulty of a Black man hailing a cab is portrayed. This gives information about the racial injustice in our world today. I found it a nice touch to the film, but also at the same time the concept of it felt… Forced, and overwhelming with everything else going on. 


Although the film may seem unappealing for an older audience, it could be entertaining for children and audiences of younger ages. From a child’s perspective the movie could be uplifting, and funny, however that may not be the case for others. 


Despite the ongoing repetitive childish plot, Soul is a prominent film. It’s about finding your soul, —reminding us to be ourselves,and to take our own path in life. It discusses morals, how to approach things when life gives you struggles. It shows us the meaning of life, why we should live. Even though some parts of the film were questionable, the movie still depicts how important and powerful we are. Overall, I give this film a 2.5 for its uncertainty, and repetitive plot.