Soul Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

«Soul» / Soul

Genre cartoon
Directed by Pete Docter
Starring Jamie Foxx (Joe Gardner), Tina Fey (Soul 22), Angela Bassett (Dorothea), Phylicia Rashad (Mama Jo), David Diggs (Paul), Graham Norton (Moonwind) and others.
Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios
Release year 2020
IMDb website

The release of the cartoon took place on December 25, and in the United States it was released immediately on the Disney + streaming service, bypassing cinemas. And in Ukraine, where the service is not yet available, the animation can be seen on large screens.

The cartoon introduces us to Joe Gardner, a music teacher who has been dreaming of performing on stage for years. For a long time, Joe could not achieve his goal, but thanks to a former student, he is invited to play in a jazz club, making a company of professional performers. Joe has only to wait for the evening, put on his best suit and sit down at the piano. Dreaming about the future, the hero stumbles and falls right into the pipeline sewer. After an accident, Gardner realizes that his soul has separated from his body and entered another dimension. This does not suit the musician at all, who never realized his dream, so Joe intends to outwit the local way of life and return to life. To do this, the musician must become a mentor for another obstinate soul, which under no circumstances wants to go to Earth.

It is worth noting that the musical component of the cartoon is incredibly good and maximally focused on the plot. “Soul” was composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (both previously Oscar-winners for The Social Network soundtrack) with jazz compositions provided by musician John Baptiste.


Interestingly enough, the creators of the cartoon made a multi-camera shoot and recorded how Baptiste plays the piano, so that later he would most accurately and realistically convey the movements of the fingers of Joe Gardner’s character. Thanks to this approach, as well as the chosen style of animation, the performances look really mesmerizing.

By the way, the jazz club Half Note Club, in which the main character dreams of performing, is a reference to the legendary institution that once worked in Manhattan. His and other buildings on the streets of New York were depicted with a lot of little things, creating a bustling and incredibly cozy picture of a big city. There seems to be a lot more detail here than in other cartoons, and viewers will have time to look around when the characters begin to realize the value of simple everyday moments.

Jazz music and thousands of little things in New York are a joy for an adult audience, while children will probably enjoy the wondrous world of pre-existence, where the soul of the protagonist finds himself. Everything there is contrary to earthly rules: the characters acquire a weightless shell, the grass shimmers with purple colors, memories are displayed like a hologram, and law enforcement officers resemble luminous avant-garde paintings. True, this is far from the strongest part of the cartoon and, fortunately, the plot moves much further, returning more earthly affairs to the screen.


In short, if at first it seems that the new cartoon is limited to a funny image of a training camp for the souls and a series of existential jokes, there will be many pleasant discoveries further. The Pixar Animation Studios team, led by Pete Docter (who worked on the animated films Up and Inside Out), manages to create an unusual story about the value of life, the calling of each person and the ability to appreciate moments that in a hurry can seem completely insignificant.

The creators of the cartoon maintain a balance between serious and funny, but while the plot is still developing, they add a cat to it. This surprise is based on a trick that audiences of all ages will love – there are things that always work, and this one is no exception. So the task is to entertain the viewer Pixar, as always, on top.


one of Pixar’s best and most beautiful animated films with an amazing musical accompaniment. Perhaps adults will like it more, but it is also suitable for children.

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