For a movie about a jazz musician/music teacher, "Soul," the latest Disney/Pixar film, is not a musical. But like good music, it's filled with feel-good stuff. While most films from this studio work on two levels with lots of humor for kids and a good amount for the grown-ups, this is one of the more grown-up variety, a la "Inside Out."
Joe Gardner (Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx) is about to get his BIG break as a musician when he has an unfortunate incident that sends him to the great beyond, or as they call it, "The Before." Joe learns that "Forgetting the trauma of childbirth is the great gift of the universe." But Joe remembers what he's lost, the joys and pain, and soon realizes he's in the wrong place at the wrong time. Joe longs to get back and he does so with the grudging help of a lost soul 22 (Tina Fey) who has no interest in finally becoming human and all that entails — even with the encouragement of some of humanity's leading heavyweights. While a temper prone Abe Lincoln can't get through to 22, it seems that Joe's teaching skills may just be the spark she needs to face her fears.
"Soul" is like music or comfort food that is good for the soul. It is like having a beignet, sugar falling on your chest and you don't care because they're playing your kind of jazz.