Lessons to learn from ‘Soul’

Soul’ unlike many of the recent visual spectacles by Pixar has a hell lot of heart in it. And the one thing it has more than that, are life lessons you’ll keep with you for the rest of your lives. I am grateful that the movie streamed in Disney plus and not released in the silver screens- I’d hate for my fellow audience to see me weep like a 5-year-old girl. Usually, animated reels don’t have that effect on me. Looking back, I think I might have forgotten that the movie was animated. Before I get into the details- if you haven’t witnessed this artistic piece of work yet, do yourself a favour; stop whatever chore you are doing, login to your Disney plus account and press play on the title ‘soul’. I assure you, you won’t regret it.

Technically speaking, the movie is what you expect from a Pixar production- top-notch. The animated work was a blend of reality and fantasy which for some reason makes it more relatable. The colours and shadows reflected the mood of the story- bright and jolly at times and dark and hypnotic in between. But these VFX finesses was never the eye-ball magnet in Soul. From the moment the Pixar logo came in, to the very last frame where the end credits rolled in, it was always the story that was at the centre stage.

I write this assuming the readers have all gone through this wonderful experience at least once. If you haven’t- again, just stop reading this crap (in comparison with the movie of course) and get in the bandwagon. So, naturally, I won’t be narrating the story here and I am perfectly aware that I can’t do justice to it even if I tried. Also, this won’t be a movie review- there are more than enough out there. I just want to share some of the lessons that I’ve learned through this soulful journey.

The movie presents before us a depiction of a world hereafter which you’ll see is neither intended to be scientifically accurate nor hilariously idiotic. But this fantasy world does make us wear the proverbial thinking cap as it elegantly explains some of the most complex psychological phenomena discussed in the current era. I am not saying that the movie is a psychological guide or that it might contribute to the research on these aspects. All I am saying is that if Sigmund Freud was alive and kicking now, he would have loved it.

One of these renditions that I specifically enjoyed was the concept that people who are lost and people who are ‘in the zone’, both end up in a bridge way between the physical and spiritual worlds and that when the people in the zone find their passion to be an obsession, they get lost. I know this might sound silly- probably because it is coming from me. But it made perfect sense when Moonwind narrated it. The whole idea of the ‘great before’ also threw me off for a second. The great beyond is a term so generously used in animated movies that we may very well just go with GB. But I don’t think we have heard much about the ‘great before’ before. The movie also offers a peek into the nature Vs nurture debate that has riddled psychologists and philosophers for decades. The movie shows us the way personalities are allotted to each individual and that everyone has a spark that goes with it. To make myself clear, I am almost sure that none of this can be real but there is still no way to prove it wrong either.

‘Soul’ is a movie that can certainly be compared to ‘inside out’. But inside out was a movie that I watched with my brain and this was something that I could only experience with my heart. Maybe, the first half of the movie was only as good as the last Pixar picture, but then it took a different path. The majority of animated movies or any films for that matter would have gone with the cliché ending- chase your dreams, fight for your destiny and all those stuff. But in reality, the majority of people can’t climb up the ladder of their dreams. And even if they do, what then- what should one do after realizing one’s dream?

‘Soul’ brilliantly looks at the protagonist through the eyes of another, but still the eyes of the protagonist itself. It is humanly impossible for us to look at ourselves as another person, which is exactly what Joe Gardner did through his metaphysical experience. He got to see himself through the eyes of another and this made him realize the heaviness of the gift hamper he has received. My most favourite dialogue from the movie is 22 saying, ‘what if eating pizza is my spark, or walking- I’m good at walking, or maybe looking at the sky’. When we stop for a second to truly be present at the moment, there is no doubt that we’ll fall back in love with the beauty in the bucolic.

The most important lesson that ‘Soul’ imparts is that our spark is not the purpose of our life. Even when our dreams are shattered in to a million pieces, we still have a million other reasons to live. A violinist who lost her fingers, a football player paralyzed below his waist, a writer who can remember nothing of his past; none of them are purposeless machines living their lives to die. The very purpose of your life is to live- so live your life down to the faintest second in the clock.



Psy-enthusiast, Content creator, Cinephile

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