Linda Cook review: ‘Soul’ has magic, music and meaning

Local News

Calling music lovers of all ages: You won’t want to miss “Soul,” a stirring testament to passions and callings, and what makes us who we are.

It also has fantastic jazz music, and it’s a special tribute to people who find themselves lost in music, whether as a listener or a performer, and how that passion can define our lives.

Music teacher Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx) loves music – in fact, he still dreams of a career as a jazz musician.

Now, most of know that Joe will die at some point, so the first part of the movie has quite a bit of tension. Wow! That car just missed him! We’re not sure when or how Joe will meet his demise.

That doesn’t happen instantly. He has time to audition for a jazz combo and plan his big break – everything is looking up and then … he finds himself somewhere else.

It takes him awhile to realize where he is, but when he does, he’s determined to get back to Earth and take another shot at life.

He is introduced to a realm where he sees moments from his life, and he’s filled with regret because he realizes he may not have spent his time wisely. He makes the acquaintance of a kind of wandering “old soul” (Tina Fey) who, throughout the centuries, never really has lived and doesn’t want to head to Earth.

Not only is Joe Pixar’s first Black protagonist, but also his story brims with philosophy and complexities – this truly is a movie for all ages.  

That doesn’t mean it isn’t hilarious or action-packed, because a soul-counter named Terry and a cat with whom Joe swaps bodies lend lots of comedy to the carryings-on.

The look of the characters is glorious, from the details in the environments of Joe’s earthly surroundings – just look at the busy streets – to the Picasso-like guides in the other world. The music is, well, heavenly. Trent Reznor ant Atticus Ross have done it again right after their wonderful compositions for “Mank.”

Also, Pixar aficionados will find plenty of Easter Eggs – look closely and you’ll catch the beloved pizza truck in one scene.

“Soul” has meaning, music and magic that only Pixar can provide.

4 out of 4 stars

Rated: PG for mildly adult content.

Running time: One hour and 40 minutes.

Streaming on Disney+

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