Starring: Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Daveed Diggs
Director: Pete Docter
Running Time: 100 mins
Soul is an American film about a middle-aged musician who suddenly finds himself separated from his body, and must work his way back along with a young soul who has not yet discovered the world.
Pixar’s incredible capacity for imagination and moving emotion is working at its highest order here. Visually beautiful, deeply touching and powerfully inspiring, Soul is one of the studio’s very best films of all.
Bold and innovative in its storytelling yet remaining always faithful to what makes Pixar great, Soul has all the ingredients of a great family film, with humour, bright visuals and a fun adventure story – but there’s more to it than that.
The kids will definitely have fun with this movie, but it’s the way in which Soul looks at thought-provoking themes of life and death in such intimate and elegant fashion that really makes it a spectacular watch.
Starting brilliantly with typically sharp and engaging characterisation and exposition, you fall in love with Joe Gardener, as we learn about his struggles in the past just as he looks like he’s going to get his big break.
The film’s opening act on Earth is short but very effective, before things get a little more fantastical – but no less captivating.
Though perhaps not the same masterstroke of lateral thinking that Inside Out was, Soul is testament to Pixar’s unparalleled ability to showcase complex and innovative concepts in a simple, fun yet always thought-provoking way.
The part of the film set off Earth may seem a little silly at first, but it’s rich in bold ideas and powerfully moving emotion, as well as utterly gorgeous, vibrant animation.
Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey work wonderfully together as the film’s lead pair, both when they find themselves on and off Earth in a series of bizarre but undeniably entertaining adventures.
Admittedly, after the touching and wonderfully understated start to the film, the central adventure story almost seems to cheapen Soul’s amazing capacity for real, moving drama. But this is Pixar, and you can’t go without a little fun and games, even when the real story at hand is a little more serious.
The film’s final act is probably the best part of the movie, uniting the often more fluffy fantasy with challenging real-world drama in typically tear-jerking fashion. And as well as its incredible imagination, Soul showcases a gorgeous and soaring passion for music, at times just as good as the beautiful rhythms of Coco.
Ultimately, Soul tells a wonderfully moving story that doesn’t shy away from some more challenging drama. On the surface, it has all the soft edges of a great Pixar film that will entertain younger viewers, but deep down, there’s so much more to it.
Maybe I would have liked Soul to be a little more serious all the way through, as its central adventure is never as enthralling as its drama. But you need a bit of fun and humour even when telling a story as rich in depth as this, and that really helps Soul to be just as entertaining as it is moving.
Overall, I loved Soul. Another example of the still unparalleled abilities of Pixar as a groundbreaking film studio, it’s both a moving drama and a wonderfully entertaining family movie, with gorgeous animation and a staggering imagination. So, that’s why I’m giving it an 8.4.