Soul

Soul ★★★★

87

Soul had the potential to be extremely atmospheric and human—and it is, to a point—but I just didn’t feel that spark, as it were, for as much of the runtime as I would have wished. So much of what occurs on the Earthly realm is so beautiful that once we are reminded of the bigger story going on, the train loses steam. It’s not a bad story per se, and I’m not just throwing tomatoes because I wanted more of that. But they definitely had the mentality of “we have this idea for an amazing movie, now...write that down and we’ll figure out the details later.” I’m sure that’s how a lot of stories work to be fair, but my point is they shouldn’t be framed in such a way that you can pick out an individual part of the production without even researching into it. Films being cohesive wholes are the first steps to getting a 100 from me. I’m not saying we didn’t need the sections in the Great Beyond and the Great Before, but a considerable amount of ideas there feel under-baked and kinda dumb? I also don’t love/understand what they were trying to do with the protagonist’s arc, especially at the very end which, though it was thematically resonant, didn’t strike me as the best way to finish the story. But there’s no other way to say that the things Soul does right, Soul does perfectly. Interesting and distinct art style, one of the best scores of the year, and it is of course loaded to the brim with black actors who are clearly engaged and throwing their all into the film. Even if there wasn’t plenty else to like about Soul, I feel as though that alone would be enough.