Pixar Produces First Black Led Movie


Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) takes a walk through his jazz infused memories. (Courtesy: Disney-Pixar)

Pixar’s “Soul” has been a huge hit in the movie world. The film had racked up over 1.669 billion total streaming minutes. This was a new record for a movie released on Disney+. 

According to Rotten Tomatoes, a harsh movie rating website, the total score was 96%. This is extremely high for an animated film. 

What seemed to be an innocent kids’ movie, surprised parents as they watched it as they were enchanted by the profound meaning behind it.  

The movie covered topics such as afterlife, racism, and existentialism. 

The movie begins with a jazz pianist and middle school band teacher named Joe Gardener (Voiced by Jamie Foxx) fell into a coma the day before he gets his big break. He does everything in his power to return to earth and perform.  

Since falling into a coma, Joe’s soul separates from his physical body and roams the universe. 

Soul 22 (A lost Soul) and Joe then devise plan to help her earn her earth badge, so Joe can take it and return to earth instead. This plan proves to be a challenging task, requiring a great deal of effort. 

Jerry (The Universe) then tells Joe that he is extremely inspired by what he’s done and decides to give Joe another chance.  

With all the knowledge Joe now possesses, he plans to fully live life and never waste a second.  

“I think jazz was used more as a device to both help drive the plot of the movie and to carry out the impactful message of purpose the movie aims to expand upon. The movie uses jazz to broaden our horizons by warning us of our distracting, constant, goal-oriented nature and instead. motivating us to simply enjoy living, Maksym Graham (‘23) said.  

Overall, Pixar’s Soul was a good movie, although it was a bit disorganized on what happens before after death. 

Pixar usually does a great job with not crossing the borderline of crossing religious beliefs, but with Soul, the thin white line seems to get crossed. 

For example, in the Christian/Catholicism Religion, once you die you are to be judged by God. While in Soul, you simply just go to a conveyer belt called The Great Beyond. 

While in the Buddhism religion, you are to be reincarnated into a new body, yet in Soul, you simply just vanish. 

Although Soul broaches the topic of religion, it does a great job at expressing Black culture to its viewers.  

Soul features the first Black lead character in a Pixar movie while also telling the story through the lens of an African American. 

To ensure this, Soul brought consultants such as, Dr. Johnnetta B Cole, Daveed Digs, and many more Black influencers to truly make sure that the movie stayed authentic to Black culture. 

Additionally, the movie brings light to the discrimination that is faced by lack- Americans. When Joe left the hospital, he tries to hail a cab. Dozens pass by, but not a single cab stopped for him.  

Joe then goes on to say, “This would be hard even if I wasn’t wearing a hospital gown.” 

Although this was a brief scene in the movie, it shows the everyday discrimination Black men and women face. 

Overall, this movie brought a new insight into the way many think about life and death. Through this kids’ movie, Pixar has taught us to learn to appreciate life as it could be gone in a flash. Although it was a cartoon, this film is certainly not just for little kids as it reaches a broad spectrum of all ages to enjoy.