Movie Soundtrack Wednesday #12 – Soul

Words: Giulia Lombardo

After a long wait ‘Soul’ arrives on Disney+, the last jewel of Pixar, signed by its director par excellence, Pete Docter who, after ‘Up’ and ‘Inside Out’, returns to make us dream.

The movie tells the story of Joe Gardner, a middle-aged music teacher, whose dream has always been to become a professional jazz musician. But just when he is given the opportunity to make his dream come true, he looses his life due to an unfortunate accident, and he finds himself in the afterlife, where the new souls begin their adventure in the real world and the old ones move on. Joe – who has spent his entire life waiting for the moment when he would finally be known as a musician – rebels against this unfortunate event and manages to reach the ante-world, where souls are formed. There, he will be joined by 22, a pre-natal soul who has no intention of taking her course and entering the world as a mortal. The two go on a trip, then, to try to save Joe’s soul.

‘Soul’ is an opera about coming into the world, and living. If we wanted to turn his plot into a pitch we should ask ourselves this question: what would happen if a character who does not want to die meets a character who does not want to live?

Even if the movie follows a subtle philosophical and psychoanalytical tone, the movie is in reality full of realism: there is the fear of not making it, of not being up to it, the anxiety of performance that relegates us to non-lives that do nothing but pass; there is individualism that makes us soulless and there is also depression, even before we come into the world.

Credits: IMDb

On December 18 2020, the vinyl and digital soundtrack was released, signed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The two have already collaborated with the director on the soundtrack of his other films and, speaking of the work for the soundtrack of ‘Soul’, Trent Reznor said he was very careful in trying to understand what the director and animators had in mind, and so the two musicians found themselves with the opportunity to experiment, inspired by the themes addressed in the film. In fact, music is an integral part of the story and the soundtrack covers a very crucial part of the film. The main track is ‘It’s All Right’, a song composed by Curtis Mayfield and originally brought to success in 1963 by the musician and his band, the Impressions, becoming in fact a classic of soul. Batiste has arranged a new version of the song, present in the titles performed in duet between the same musician and the British singer Celeste.

Credits: IMDb

It is an unparalleled adventure, a journey into life; a film aimed for a more mature audience, who find themselves face to face with existential doubts and fears, that we all have faced or even face every day. It’s exciting and scary at the same time, because it makes you stop and think about yourself and about your life. Are you living it to the fullest? From the most sought-after lines to the most studied shots, which leave the spectator suspended, dragged into the narrative, the film is placed much above the previous works not only of the same director, but of the Studio in general. The little ones probably didn’t appreciate it as much as their parents, but this also goes in the favour of the production company that has shown to be able, really, to bring on screen a film for everyone.

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