The Great Before: Review of Pixar’s Soul

In a year that has erupted with racial strife, Pixar’s Soul is a welcome delight.

Joe Gardner is our protagonist, a musician who dreams of jazzing with the greats, while living the life of a public school music instructor. Joe gets his big break, but on his way home it’s clear the universe is gunning for our hero. Just when it seems he’s made it home (oblivious to the many dangers), Joe disappears into a manhole.

Joe’s spirit shows up on the conveyor belt to the Great Beyond. But Joe is desperate to return to his interrupted life, so cruelly ended right before the moment he has dreamed of for decades.

In escaping heaven, Joe finds himself in a luminous, pastel realm, which we learn is the Great Before – the land where souls prepare to enter Earth life.

This is delightful, to see a movie depiction of life before this life. Not that it matches the pre-mortal doctrine of the Restored Gospel, any more than Disney’s Coco matches the Church’s doctrine regarding the afterlife. But in a world that too often dispenses with any discussion of life beyond this mortality, it is delightful to see stories that discuss our existence beyond the bounds of this fleshy mortality.

As always, Pixar treats us to a satisfying story. This is particularly fun with Soul as there really aren’t many tropes for pre-mortal life. So there are times when the couch potatoes in my household, at least, had no idea what was going to happen next.

If you haven’t yet taken the time to watch Soul, I recommend that you tee this flick up for some future evening.

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About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter-day Saints) for decades. She lives in the DC area with her husband, Bryan, and several daughters. She is an engineer by vocation and a writer by avocation. Meg is the author of Reluctant Polygamist, laying out the possibility that Joseph taught the acceptability of plural marriage but may have privately defied the commandment for love of his wife, Emma.

1 thought on “The Great Before: Review of Pixar’s Soul

  1. I loved this movie. I think we’ll watch it again. After his big gig, Joe muses that he thought things would be different. It turns out that life continues on, and requires the same effort it took you to get to each stage. But in parenting, there are wonderful moments that you can look back and be glad that different stages are past.

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