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Pixar’s Soul took home two Oscars last night and it’s not at all hard to see why. The animation may be directed at a younger audience, but it’s proved to have had a remarkable and somewhat life-changing impact on audiences of all ages. It’s easily one of the greatest Pixar films in existence and here are 17 reasons why.

1.

Soul features Pixar’s first Black lead character.


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Soul is the first Pixar movie to feature a Black protagonist and it did not disappoint. Joe Gardner (voiced by the legend that is Jamie Foxx) is an African-American jazz teacher from New York with a big personality and even bigger hopes and dreams. While physically resembling a Black man, his style, mannerisms, and vernacular also radiate Blackness and we absolutely love to see it.

2.

It’s the most unapologetically Black Pixar project yet.



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Soul includes a whole host of Black characters all brought to life without succumbing to stereotypes often used to portray Black characters. Pixar really took the time to create authentic and multidimensional Black characters with a variety of skin tones, hair textures, and body types. It is also the first feature-length Pixar film with a predominantly Black voice cast!

3.

There are several familiar voices in the cast.


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This cast is truly the gift that keeps on giving. The all-star lineup includes the insanely talented Jamie Foxx, Angela Bassett, Tina Fey, Questlove, and Richard Ayoade. Even national treasure Graham Norton voices a character!

4.

Joe Gardner is an extremely relatable protagonist.


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Unlike many Pixar protagonists, Joe Gardner is an ordinary man with very ordinary problems. He is a middle-aged, middle-school band teacher who dreams of becoming a jazz musician. And when he finally gets his big break, things don’t go quite according to plan. I think it’s safe to say we are all Joe Gardiner at heart, stumbling our way forward and hoping for a miracle (or two) along the way.

5.

22’s existential crisis is also very relatable.


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22 (Tina Fey) is an extremely cynical unborn soul that is avoiding life on Earth at all costs. While armoured with witty comebacks and dismissive jokes, we learn that her apprehension to ‘live’ is merely a reflection of her own insecurities. These fears have kept her in the Great Before for centuries and have prevented her from quite literally living her best life. If that’s not relatable, I don’t know what is.

6.

Soul addresses life, death, and the afterlife in a way that no other Pixar film ever has.


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Up and Coco walked so that Soul could run. When the main character falls down a manhole, enters a coma and ends up somewhere in the afterlife all within the first ten minutes of the film, you know you’re in for a wild ride. While the multiple realms and existential crises will most likely go over the young viewers’ heads, it makes for a pretty epic and thought-provoking journey for the rest of us.

7.

It also opens a discussion about the true meaning of life.


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Soul confronts our society’s capitalist focus on success and the idea that our lives are only meaningful if we are thriving. Even after Joe achieves his life goal and performs with his idol at a jazz club, he still isn’t satisfied. He then realises that he spent his entire life chasing after a dream that was unfulfilling, rather than nurturing his relationships and appreciating the wonderful moments in his day-to-day life.

8.

All age groups will take something away from this film.


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The majority of us will go on an emotional rollercoaster while watching Soul, and it doesn’t necessarily end when the film does. It is highly unlikely that younger audiences will have the same Earth-shattering experience, but they will most definitely appreciate the animations, the humour, and the Pixar universe that we all know and love. There’s truly something for everyone.

9.

It’s a visual masterpiece.


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From start to finish this film provides the most awe-inspiring visuals, some so realistic that it’s almost difficult to believe it’s animated. Everything from the ethereal plains of the Great Before and the 2D line-drawing characters that reside there to the tiny dust particles on Joe’s piano proves that the devil works hard, but Pixar works harder.

10.

It also has the most beautiful soundtrack.


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Soul really is a treat for the eyes and the ears. Jazz music unsurprisingly takes centre stage in this film, providing a hypnotic soundtrack that is steeped in African-American history and culture. Let’s just say Soul won the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Score for a reason.

11.

New York City makes an appearance.


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A large portion of the film is set in the Big Apple and we are here for it. This may actually be the most detailed and accurate portrayal of the city that never sleeps in animation history! The visuals of the legendary New York skyline, the bustling jazz clubs, the distinguishable New York pizza, and the subway (rats and all) are nothing short of breathtaking.

12.

The Black barbershop scenes are incredibly wholesome.


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The Black barbershop scenes are nothing less than iconic – thank you for coming to my TED talk. These shops are some of the most authentic Black spaces around and are as much about hair as they are about community. While banter and camaraderie are commonplace in these shops, so are heartfelt, sincere conversations. Thankfully, Soul managed to capture the essence of these Black barbershops and do them justice.

13.

Joe and 22’s friendship is #goals.


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This unconventional friendship is proof that opposites really do attract. When they have their very own Freaky Friday moment and swap bodies on Earth, they are finally able to see things from each other’s point of view, which proves to be pretty life-changing for them both. Through Joe, 22 learns what it means and feels like to be alive and through 22, Joe learns that there is more to life than chasing after the next accomplishment.

14.

This movie will definitely make you shed a few tears.


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…Or completely ball your eyes out. Either way, make sure the tissues are nearby. Pixar is known to pull at the heartstrings but Soul is a whole different ball game. The idea that time is passing you by or that one day you might look back on your life with regret is a very real fear for many of us, and watching this journey through Joe is truly heartbreaking. If at any point you just need to feel something, this is the movie for you.

15.

But it’ll also make you laugh out loud.


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For a film about life, death, and everything in between, there sure are many moments that’ll have you in hysterics. 22’s dry sense of humour, Pixar’s impeccable timing, and the odd slapstick joke here and there makes sure of that.

16.

It is without a doubt one of the most inspiring movies ever made.


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Truth be told, Soul is the pandemic pick-me-up we all needed. For any film to make you re-evaluate your outlook on life and potentially change your view of the world is pretty spectacular. Watching 22 find pure joy in the smaller things in life during her time on Earth, from a falling leaf to a talented busker really makes you want to run outside, stop, and smell the roses.

17.

Soul will give you a new found appreciation for life.


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Now it wouldn’t be a Pixar movie without some sort of life lesson and this one is as wholesome as it gets. If there’s one thing to take away from Soul, it’s that we ought to live in the moment, be present, and find the beauty in simply being alive! I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a pretty damn good life lesson.



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