Movie review: Pixar's 'Soul'
Major Spoiler alert! - If you don't want to read any spoilers we recommend to watch the movie first (with grown-ups) and then to come back to the rest of this review.
Soul is a Pixar movie that launched in 2020 and handles the question of what could happen in the afterlife. The British board of Film Classification rated this movie PG, so parental guidance is necessary. When looking at other rating sites, the reviews are scattered, some would not show it to their kids until they are 18. Others said, the movie was suited for age 10 or 13, or even the age of 6. Some even said that their kids of 4 years old loved it. All of this doesn't make it easy to define this movie. We have seen it and believed the theme is refreshing. It fits with today's zeitgeist where more spiritual and other conscious themes are presented to children, which work on their personal development on so many other levels than just their usual 'math and geology'.
It's great that there is a movie that doesn't shove the concept of death under the rug - and shows death in an actual positive way: as a possibility of what the afterlife could be like - and... as part of life. So when your kids do start asking about this topic sooner or later - perhaps when a relative or close friend passes away, this movie could be a refreshing way of explaining the concept. Moreover, 'Soul' also discusses the meaning of life -which is a very deep existential question that some people may not want to fret about - however, the way 'Soul' tackles the answer, is through beautiful simplicity and wonder; which is something that everyone can relate to and can feel comfortable and happy with.
The only thing we questioned was whether it was necessary to show the main persona asking himself whether his life was worthless, and meaningless. We feel kids usually naturally find joy and beauty in life; more so than adults do. So this may confuse them...why is this person unhappy about his life so far? Is life so dreadful? This later all works out, and is part of the big plot, but this moment is still a very particular one that perhaps owes an explanation from parents to their children; that life isn't always roses and butterflies, but that there is always beauty present, and that one can always actively choose to look for the good things, every day.
Nevertheless, it's great that there is now an opportunity for parents to discover the concept of death and afterlife and where we come from - together with their children; in the form of a Pixar movie. What we also liked was that the storyline is presented in the most abstract way possible: all 'heaven' people are 2-dimensional creatures that are not meant to draw any attention to who they are or what religion they follow, so that everyone can feel connected to the higher overall message it is trying to convey.
Since parent groups are so scattered about the recommended age for this movie, we recommend watching the movie firstly by yourself and including your child at a 2nd time when you feel comfortable with introducing the theme.
We look forward to hearing what you think!
Team Koala Charlotte