Joe Gardner ( Jamie Foxx ) believes he has found his calling. When he sits at the piano on stage in a jazz club, he forgets the world around him. The space dissolves, the people disappear and only the music exists. A magical moment that is short-lived. As a music teacher, Joe looks into the eyes of unmotivated students for most of his life, who hurl a cacophony of bad mood at him. If he died now, Joe would have wasted his life. A fleeting thought that is reality for a few minutes.
After Pixar’s disappointing fantasy film Onward , Soul sees itself as the spiritual successor to Inside Out , which kidnapped us into the head of a little girl named Riley five years ago. The protagonists of the film, however, were their feelings. Joy, grief, fear, anger and disgust had to unite despite obvious differences in order to survive an adventure in a strange and at the same time deeply familiar world. Soul follows a similar pattern and translates complex experiences into an animated body swap comedy.
As expected, there are also fantastic animations. The walks through New York City show a wealth of detail that makes you want to get lost in the city. Soul inspires even more when the familiar forms merge into the abstract. Sometimes Pete Docter approaches Don Hertzfeldt’s astonishing films , which also use the abstract spaces of animation films to ask life’s big and small questions. Soul is a bit more conventional at the end, but the approaches are recognizable and inspiring like the best Pixar films.