Joe Gardener (voice of Jamie Foxx) is a high-school band teacher with fading dreams of becoming a jazz musician. On the day that he gets a gig with a famous jazz musician, Joe tumbles down an open manhole into an alternate reality – he is dying. Joe tries to run back to his body but ends up in The Great Beyond, a land where unborn souls are prepared for birth. Joe is mistakenly assigned as a mentor to unborn soul number 22 (Tina Fey). The catch is that soul number 22 doesn’t want to live. Joe admits to 22 that he wants to find a way back into his body and continue living. This intrigues number 22 and she agrees to help him get back to Earth. Their topsy-turvy adventure includes body-swapping with a cat, misadventures on Earth and realisations about the true purpose of life.
Jazz music; death; afterlife; spiritualism; purpose of life; philosophy
Soul has some mild slapstick violence. For example:
- Joe falls down an open manhole.
- There are precarious moments running across streets with busy traffic.
- A cat scratches Joe in the face.
- A cat slaps Joe across the face.
Soul has some romantic references. For example:
- Joe’s previous love interest is mentioned.
- Joe accidentally kisses an older woman on the lips, which she thinks is fabulous.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Nudity and sexual activity
Soul has some name-calling, including ‘pain in the butt’ and ‘brat’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Soul is a warm-hearted and compelling animated movie which is very enjoyable to watch. Apart from a couple of dramatic and emotional scenes, there is not much to scare younger children. The movie explores mature themes that might cause confusion and need an explanation. Therefore, this movie isn’t suitable for children under 8 years, and we recommend parental guidance for children aged 8-10 years.
The main messages from this movie are that it is important not to take life for granted, to appreciate the simple pleasures of life, and avoid the trap of ambition.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include appreciating the beauty and importance of simple things, living in the moment, and finding meaning and purpose in life.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences. For example:
- What happens in real life when people get ‘lost’?
- What is negative self-talk and how can you deal with those thoughts when they happen?