Do you believe the Universe sends you just what you need when you need it? Watching Soul , Pixar’s latest movie felt like that to me…as if the answers I was seeking, the world I was missing, the jumbled mess of thoughts, dreams, passions, concerns in my head, suddenly came unravelled.
The movie starts with a middle aged Joe, teaching music to a half asleep, disinterested group of kids. He gets an offer to move to a permanent job, which means letting go of his idea that he has finally given up the idea of being a jazz music player waiting for his big , when fate seems to listen. He gets his dream chance to play with jazz legend Dorothea Williams. As he prepares for the moment he has been waiting for all his life, he falls into a manhole and finds himself a pale green soul (still with the tummy and glasses and hat) on an escalator to the ‘Great Beyond’.
Desperately and enraged , this soul manages to fall through some cosmic cracks and land in the Great Before, full of unborn baby soul being prepped for dispatch. Breathtaking visualisations bring abstract ideas into stunning processes with picasso like Jerrys . A YOU seminar , a mentoring program, personality traits and the final ‘spark’ that gets you the Earth Pass leave you gasping for breath as you take it in. Now poor Joe is matched with Soul no 22 (Tina fey), who inspite of having mentored everyone from Archimedes to Mother Terersa has just not found her spark. Then as they walk through “Excitable Pavilion” and “The Hall of Everything,” Joe sees his life as a series of No’s and disappointments, as if his whole life meant nothing. The experienced never-been-born Soul no 22 , now wants to helps as foray with her in to worlds of the literal “in the zone” and the wasteland of lost souls who feel “disconnected and without purpose”.
Long story short, Soul 22 ends up in Joe’s body in the hospital and Joe’s soul ends up in the therapy cat. Together they try to salvage the situation, planning to play the gig. Soul 22 discovers the taste of pizza, music, love, stories and people as she interacts as Joe , who in his entire life has been fixated with Jazz…and not much else.
So does Soul 22 figure out her spark? Does Joe get his life? Watch to figure it out as you enjoy some incredible jazz music 🙂 That end scene where he plays the piano and recollects , and the finale felt like a warm hug as tears gently well up in joy.
To me, like Inside Out did a stellar job in colour coding and visualising our emotions, Soul is magnificent in its blend of animation , creative visualization and cerebral storytelling. Death, the after life, the purpose and value of life – finely crafted and whimsically packaged in an approachable and almost amusing way.
This movie may not ignite existential crisis in you, but it will make you reflect on what we all know but yet seem to have no time for –
What are the things that you take for granted, fail to notice – omnipresent around you, happening every moment of your life ?
What are the voices you fail to hear, the unsaid you should have just voiced , the stories you never bothered to explore?
Does your passion make you, YOU?
While dreams and purpose and goal are yelled and drilled and built up from our childhood , will they lead to some deeper sense of fulfillment ? What comes next?
What then is meaning of the “spark” of life?
Exactly the questions we need to ask ourselves if we are waiting for the restrictions of pandemic to end , to send kids back to their exams and classes and routines, to rush back to our programmed and driven race to success again.
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