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Review Pixar weave their magic again and prove they have heart in 'Soul'



The Verdict: Poignant but not sentimental, Soul is the perfect Christmas combination of humour and tearjerker. Four stars.

The stars: Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad.

The Story: A school music teacher re-evaluates his life when he's transported to another realm.

Soul (PG)

LOVING your life even when it's not going as you'd planned is the simple but moving and rousing message behind Soul, the latest animated offering from storytelling giants Pixar. It's exclusive to Disney+.

Co-directed with Kemp Powers by Pixar's chief creative officer Pete Docter, Soul looks at all the big stuff - life, human nature and finding meaning and purpose in what you do. It's meaningful and moving, yet it all plays out with a lightness of touch that makes it an entertaining and enjoyable watch. We'd expect nothing less from Docter, behind movies like Inside Out, Up and Monster's, Inc.

The movie centres around Joe Gardner (Foxx), a high-school music teacher with a passion for jazz that has left him unfulfilled. He's had a lifelong love of music and always wanted to play for a living, but is considering whether to take a full-time job at the school.

A connection and a lucky break puts him on the radar of Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett), a successful and no-nonsense jazz singer he's always admired.

When he aces an audition at the Half Note Club, he gets a last-minute slot in the band. Overjoyed but distracted, Joe falls down a manhole, waking up in an unfamiliar place called The Great Beyond, where like others around him, his soul has become separated from his body.

A mishap causes him to fall down stairs to an even stranger place called The Great Before, where he is fascinated to see personalities being formed and passions and tastes created. His role is to pass on his loves to the next generation.

He comes under the mentorship of the character named 22 (Tina Fey), who's in a pickle of her own. She's the only-ever soul who has refused to give Earth a go.

Now that he's got his big break, Joe is desperate to get back to Earth and his body. He and 22 find an unusual way to do that.

Soul is a charming film which I should warn you packs a big emotional punch at the end. Otherwise, big themes are handled with a lightness of touch that few can do as well as Pixar.

Sunday World