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‘Soul’ is the perfect inspirational movie for a difficult year

In a year of unprecedented loss and turmoil, we needed something hopeful and special to end the year. And we got it in Soul, the most inspirational movie put out in quite some time.

Destiny has a funny way of doing things, so they say.

Pixar has closed the year with the groundbreaking film we needed, even if we didn’t know it. The inspirational movie Soul rounds out 2020, maybe not with the ending we wanted, but with the ending we needed.

‘Soul’ is as inspirational a movie as we have seen in quite some time

The movie Soul is about a musician who has lost his passion for music. And as he has lost his passion, he is transported out of his body and must find his way back with the help of an infant soul learning about herself (22).

Soul is an inspirational movie that, just like this messy year, can be described with only one word: unpredictable. 

Not only does the main character die in the first 20 minutes of the movie, but we also hear Tina Fey’s voice coming out of a middle-aged black man.

Soul is groundbreaking and perfectly-fitting for 2020

Soul could not be more culturally relevant. It features prominent historic figures, from Mother Teresa and Muhammad Ali, to the famous NYC pizza rat. And, it provides answers to long-standing mysteries like ‘why are the Knicks so bad?’ and the concept of destiny.

Most interesting about the film is that it is Pixar’s first movie co-directed by a black man, Kemp Powers.

And to add more to the inspirational movie of the year, Soul is Pixar’s first film with a Black lead. In fact, the movie was so conscious of the painful history of Black animation, that the animators specifically used light to highlight the ethnic diversities of the living world.

They captured details of black characters including the textures of their black hairs and tones of skin, like no other animation film. And, of course, it is the first movie created by Pixar animators in their homes at least six feet away from each other in the Bay Area.

More on Soul, the movie we needed more than we ever knew

Originally, Soul, the inspirational film (of the decade?), was set to be released in June 2020. But due to the pandemic, it was released on Disney Plus in December. Right in time for us to ponder about the meaning of life — like Pete Docter, the director, did when he created the film.

But, unlike Disney’s previous films, Soul aims not to provide a straight forward answer to what the meaning of life is. And, and that is perhaps the most real message that Disney was ever taught us. 

Soul makes you think and ask questions

When I first watched the film Soul, I was expecting a Coco-like plot, with catchy songs and tearful endings. Instead, I got a bunch of questions and confusion from my little cousins.

We had to pause the movie several times for me to explain what the heck was happening.

“Did Joe die and revive?”

“What is the before life?”

And most surprising, “Are we really born with personalities?”


To be honest, I had no answer to most of the questions they asked. Nor had I imagined that they were paying that close attention, even I was having trouble keeping up with the bunch of information that we were given. All I knew was that the movie certainly did not solely target 8 and 10-years-olds. 

Additional background on Soul and the inspiration behind the film

If you pass the incredible animation, the talking animals, and the cute looking souls, the movie holds deep meanings. It even points out racial problems relevant to today’s news.

It might seem obvious and even necessary given the latest events that have been going on. But the movie has been in development since 2016 when Pete Docter started pondering the origin of human personalities and the concept of destiny. 

And, four years in development might seem like a long time. But not long enough to provide the right answers to questions most of us spend a lifetime answering. That’s exactly why the movie is so good. It holds no definitive answers, just a clear depiction of how good it is just living. 

Soul is a reminder of how good life is

After all the catastrophic events that have happened this year, we can’t judge 22 for not bothering to live. The world, in fact, can sometimes be a horrible place to live. For us millennials and Gen-Z’ers, we’ve been taught that we should find our passion to learn about or purpose in life.

Our parents spent an incredible amount of time (and money) looking for music classes, sports practices, camps, etc. All waiting for us to uncover the genius in us and our hidden talents that would help us thrive in life. 

All to graduate during a pandemic with often no clue of what we want to do in life. The worst part is that we are anxious about that. We feel bad about not being ‘the best,’ we feel guilty: “All that time and money for nothing?”

Perhaps it’s our definition of everything that has us all f*****. We have a life to live, to enjoy, to stumble and learn. That’s our destiny. 

The best part is, no one can teach us how to live. It’s something we have to experience on our own, just like 22. Only then will we understand why it is worth living in this incredibly confusing and sometimes frightening world.

Maybe it’s for that one pizza bite? And that could be the most legit answer to the questions of life’s meaning. Maybe it’s for something else. But it is Soul, Pixar’s inspirational movie of the year and possibly decade, that forces us to ask these questions. And for that, and that alone, we are appreciative.