• Gareth Crook

Soul (2020)

What a warm hug of a movie. Joe is a jazz musician. Teaching part time, it’s not his dream, his dream is to play, to perform, to get lost in music. Anyone watching this, should know how it feels to get lost in something. It may have the Disney ident up front, but this is unmistakably a Pixar film. They effortless create these magical worlds that transport you to places you didn’t think possible. Yes it looks gorgeous, has a solid moral tone, but it’s sophisticated. To watch Joe’s digitally animated fingers move on the keys is a thing of pure beauty. This isn’t the beauty of Soul though. Joe, just as he’s about to realise his dream, dies. Sending his soul into a gorgeously rendered world where, after running away from the light of the great beyond, finds himself cast as a mentor for new souls. It’s a dreamlike place of floating characters that look like a cross between Olaf the snowman and Casper the friendly ghost, rendered in cool blues and scored deftly by Reznor & Ross. He hooks up with 22, a new soul disinterested in living a life, so much so, she’s happy to try swap with Joe, giving him her life as passage back to his, while she skips to the great beyond. That’s not how the system, run by a fluid outline character voiced by Richard Ayoade works though. His voice sits well. Graham Norton less so as the cosmic Moonwind, who rides in what my young film companion describes as a ‘hippy boat’. It’s all very existential, a continuation in some ways to Inside Out and to be honest I’d be happy to stay in this world. Moonwind, an enlightened soul though helps Joe get back to his body... almost. He falls back to Earth along with 22 who lands in his body, while Joe... lands in a cat. Together they have to navigate a way to fix this and learn a little about themselves. It’s wonderful of course, in the true sense of the word. Delightful, charming, funny and poignant. It’d be lazy to say it’s got soul, but damn it’s brimming with it. The perfect tale of finding your place in the world and following your dreams. Pixar don’t make bad films, this though is truly great.

8/10