tek's rating: ½

Soul (PG)
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streaming sites: Amazon; Disney+; Google Play; iTunes; Movies Anywhere; Vudu; YouTube

This was released on Christmas Day, 2020, via Disney+. It was originally intended to be a theatrical film, but that was changed due to Covid-19. So I'll categorize it as a theatrical film, rather than a web film. It was supposed to have a short film called Burrow play before it in theaters, but that was also released on Disney+. This is a movie that deserves to be loved, but I couldn't quite manage that, for my own self-deprecating, wallowy reasons. I still liked it very much, though. It's the sort of movie that should make you profoundly happy to be alive, but I'm not capable of that. It did make me happy, and I appreciated the ultimate message of the film, but it also made me profoundly sad; again, for my own wallowy reasons.

Anyway, I don't want to reveal too much of the plot, because there are major twists that I don't want to spoil. I can say it's about a jazz pianist named Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx), who has never found success. So he works as a middle school band teacher. Then one day, a former student of his gives him the opportunity to perform in the band of a famous saxophonist named Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett). It's the happiest day of his life, but unfortunately, it's also the last day of his life. After he dies, his soul desperately tries to get back to his body. In the meantime, he ends up mentoring an unborn soul named 22 (Tina Fey), who has had thousands of mentors before, but never found her "spark," which would mean she was ready to start living. She's very cynical about the whole idea of life, but of course she does eventually find her spark. As for Joe, what becomes of him in the end is one of the things I don't want to spoil.

Well, the movie affects pretty much all the feels, both good and bad, and does so quite well. It's also sort of philosophical, without really providing any clear answers, as far as I could tell. But that's probably for the best. And if I weren't a lost soul myself, I'm sure I'd appreciate the movie as much as it should be appreciated. (I should say, there are other movies that I have managed to love that provide similar inspirational messages about life. So I'm not 100% sure why I failed to love this one. But I think it has something to do with this movie's message being more sort of fundamental to life itself than some other such movies. And that rubbed my own fundamental cynicism about life the wrong way, I guess. And it really hurts. But that's not the movie's fault, it's mine.) But I still really liked it.

In April 2021, a prequel short film called 22 vs Earth was released on Disney+.

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