Disney’s “Soul” Review

Was “Soul” a failure on Disney’s part, or a success?

Here you can see Joe Gardner in human form, as well as him and 22 in their ghostly form.

Here you can see Joe Gardner in human form, as well as him and 22 in their ghostly form.

Joe Gardner and 22 as green ghost in the sky. (Troy Branson)

“Soul” is a movie for the young, the old, and the in-between, but is it inclusive to everyone? To watch it you will need a subscription to the streaming service Disney+. “Soul” is the first movie about death and the afterlife that I felt comfortable watching and talking about. For some of us, there are so many uncertainties that come with dying. Will there be an afterlife? Will I see my family again? “Soul” has an answer that is comforting and hopeful for many. Throughout this article you will get to have a glimpse at the plot of, “Soul,” the pros and cons of the movie, and my overall score for the movie.


Tina Fey has stared in 30 Rock, Date Night, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and many other films and tv shows. (Troy Branson)

The movie starts by introducing us to the main character. Joe Gardener, who is played by Jamie Foxx, is a jazz musician who always dreamed to be in a famous band, but is instead teaching middle school band. He finally gets a shot to audition for his favorite Jazz band and he gets the job! Unfortunately, on his way home he falls in a sewer and it takes his life. When he gets to the afterlife he tries to escape by jumping off the stairs to the “Great Beyond.” By doing so, he finds himself in the “Great Before,” which is is full of children waiting to be sent to earth. Here he meets 22, Tina Fey, a child who cannot find her purpose in life. She has been stuck in the “Great Before” for a long time. Together they explore it and grow a bond. The only question is, will they ever make it to earth? For that answer you will have to watch for yourself.

Jamie Foxx has stared in films like “Django,” “Annie” (2014), “Baby Driver,” “Miami Vice,” and many more.

“Soul,” was a movie that I enjoyed for these reasons. For starters, Jamie Foxx’s voice acting was excellent. He brought Joe Gardner to life by having the perfect amount of emotion in his voice throughout the movie. I also enjoyed watching the relationship between Joe Gardner and 22. A dead man and a yet to be born child is an interesting character dynamic. The director did well making the movie enjoyable for people of all ages. The animation was very pleasing to the eye. These pros made watching the movie enjoyable.

No movie goes without cons however. For starters, the ending felt very rushed, which was disappointing considering the overall film’s plot flowed well. On top of that, many critics and viewers believed the film was racially insensitive. During the movie, there is a shift from the main character, Joe Gardner played by Jamie Foxx, to 22, played by Tina Fey. Jamie Foxx was the first black lead in a Pixar movie; which, goes to show that a lot of growth that needs to happen in Hollywood so it becomes more inclusive and aware. There were scenes like when 22, a white woman, goes into Joe Gardner, a black man, and takes over his body and tries to escape. There was another scene where Joe Gardner was mistaken for another black man. After the Black Lives Matter movement, Covid-19 effecting minorities more than white Americans, and many more racial issues, viewers wish that Pixar would have taken a different route with an impowering black lead. Joe Gardner dies with in the first 10 minutes of the movie and his role as the lead slowly trickles away. Viewers believe this did not send a good message to viewers, and a more impowering character would have. It is disappointing that Disney released a racially insensitive film with their first black lead.

For 35 years, Pixar has been in operation, but Soul was the first film with a black lead.

The ultimate score is a 5/10. Although the animation was good and the voice overs were excellent, the racially insensitive aspects of this movie weighs down the score a lot. I hope that Pixar’s next film with a black lead is more like Disney’s, “Black Panther.” “Black Panther” was both impowering and had role models for people of color to confine in which, unfortunately, does not happen often enough. If people were to watch, “Soul,” and, “Black Panther,” they would have a very different feeling after watching both. I would recommend watching the movie if you are excited for the first black lead in Pixar’s history and/or you want a movie that makes you feel more at peace with passing on eventually. I would not recommend the movie if you do not want to experience the racial insensitivity that Pixar presented with this movie.