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Today’s Prayer Focus
MOVIE REVIEW

Soul

also known as “Co w duszy gra,” “Duša,” “Lelki ismeretek,” “Siela,” “Själen,” “Soul - Uma Aventura com Alma,” “Душа,” “За душата,” “ソウル”
MPA Rating: PG-Rating (MPA) for thematic elements and some language.

Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
CONTRIBUTOR

Average (somewhat offensive) —Not Recommended
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Young-Adults
Genre:
Animation Fantasy Comedy Drama 3D
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2020
USA Release:
December 25, 2020 (Disney+) / Theater release skipped due to Wuhan coronavirus issues
DVD: March 23
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Relevant Issues
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What is the human soul?

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How do human fantasies about the human soul presented in this film diverge markedly from reality?

Personality traits we are born with compared to those we develop through education, life experiences and self-discipline

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Value of mentoring

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

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What brings true happiness to our lives?

Learning to stop focusing only on ourselves and our own desires and help others

What is LOVE, for a follower of Christ? Answer

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What is DEATH? and WHY does it exist? Answer in the Bible

Destination of our souls after we leave Earthly life

What is the FINAL JUDGMENT? and WHAT do you need to know about it? Answer

What is ETERNAL LIFE? Answer

What is ETERNAL DEATH? Answer


Liars and deceivers

Human meanness and outbursts of severe anger

About the fall of mankind to worldwide depravity

What is SIN AND WICKEDNESS? Is it just “bad people” that are sinners, or are YOU a sinner? Answer

Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer

How good is good enough? Answer

Do NOT click on this button

Paradise or Pain? Why is the world the way it is?
Why is the world the way it is? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, would He really create a world like this? (filled with oppression, suffering, death and cruelty) Answer

Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer

How good is good enough? Answer

Will all mankind eventually be saved? Answer

God

How can we know there’s a God? Answer

About GOD (in our WebBible Encyclopedia)

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Being passionate about life

Featuring Jamie FoxxJoe Gardner (voice)
Tina Fey22 (voice), a soul with a dim view of life trapped in ‘The Great Before’
Zendaya … Libby Tandertiano (voice), 22’s arch-enemy
Graham NortonMoonwind (voice)
Phylicia RashadLibba Gardner (voice), Joe’s mother
Questlove (Ahmir-Khalib Thompson a.k.a. Questlove) … Curley (voice), a drummer in Joe’s band
Daveed Diggs … Paul (voice), Joe’s neighborhood nemesis
Angela BassettDorothea Williams (voice)
Rachel HouseTerry (voice)
Alice Braga Counselor Jerry (voice)
See all »
Director Pete Docter
Producer Pixar Animation Studios
Walt Disney Pictures
See all »
Distributor Walt Disney PicturesWalt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

“Everybody has a soul. Joe Gardiner is about to find his.”

Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a band teacher who has dreamed of playing professionally as a Jazz musician. On the greatest day of his life, he auditions for a Jazz legend before dying in a freak accident. The next thing he knows, he finds himself on a mystical stairway in space leading to “The Great Beyond.”

What is DEATH? and WHY does it exist? Answer in the Bible

What is the FINAL JUDGMENT? and WHAT do you need to know about it? Answer

What is ETERNAL LIFE? Answer

What is ETERNAL DEATH? Answer

Joe refuses to accept his fate and, determined to return to his previous life, ends up instead in “The Great Before.” Here ‘new souls’ work on developing their “spark,” the thing that will bring them joy in life. Once they get their “spark” they are sent to begin their life on Earth. Mistaken for a mentor, he is assigned the most difficult of new souls simply named, “22.” 22 (Tina Fey) can’t fathom why Joe wants to get back to his boring life but is intrigued enough to learn more about what is so great on Earth.

An animated, metaphysical romp through the fantasy “before-life,” “Soul” is at times, charming, playful, funny but also a clever way to look at the passions that drive us towards our own fulfillment and purpose in life. By no means an overtly offensive nor a theologically accurate view of ‘the soul,’ the film includes some points of concern.

Content of Concern

Hindu/New Age Religion: The character 22 introduces Joe to a friend, Moonwind (Graham Norton), a hippie whose beliefs harken to Eastern philosophies and rituals and speaks of one’s ‘chakra.’ A soul on the way to “The Great Beyond” speaks of her different expectations of the after-life, however keep in mind that neither God’s final judgment, nor eternal life in Heaven are ever shown or addressed. Rather, the film messages a different impression with a worldview more consistent with Hindu/New Age suppositions, in contradiction to God’s Word.

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Lastly, the angelic-seeming caretakers of ‘new souls’ are depicted as ever-changing, two-dimensional living lines-of-force, who describe themselves as “the coming together of all quantized fields of the universe.” What a shame not to acknowledge God’s angels who are very real, very powerful first creations of God.

What does the Bible teach about angels? Answer

More about ANGELS in the Bible

Violence: Mild. Slapstick represents the majority of the violence, which is seldom directed towards another person, and when 22 slaps Joe several times it is only to show him that nothing can hurt souls in that realm. Likewise, a giant construct falls on a group of ‘new souls’ but they simply walk through it while laughing. Joe is seen before the opening credits as falling through a manhole to his off-screen death.

Scariness: The most frightening aspects of “The Great Before” takes place primarily in the realm called, The Zone. Here, souls that are obsessed with something on Earth are disconnected from ‘life’ and become grotesque, monstrous versions of themselves. Parents of younger children should be warned that this imagery may scare them.

Language: Minor. God’s name is not taken in vain, except for a single use of “Oh my Lord.” The word “h*ll” is used numerous times (12+), albeit playfully and innocently by “new-souls.” This happens after Joe asks, “Is this H-E double hockey sticks?” The word “h*llish” is used once. “Cr*p” is also uttered.

Sex/Nudity: None.

Food for Thought

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY— Joe states, “I’m not dying the very day I get my shot.” Similar to the parable of the rich fool who thought he had more time, Joe doesn’t consider the fact that God alone determines our time on Earth. He alone is in control.

“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” —Luke 12:21

“…whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” —James 4:13-14

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” —Proverbs 16:9

What is the SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD? Answer

How can we know there’s a God? Answer

What is GOD’S PROVIDENCE? Answer

What is “THE FEAR OF THE LORD”? and Why is it important? Answer

What is HUMILITY? and WHY is it important to be humble? Answer

What is the “FURY” of God? Answer

About God’s love and an answer to the questions: What is the true nature of God’s love? Is it biblically accurate to say, “God hates the SIN, but loves the SINNER”?

THE SOUL— The film depicts various personality traits as they are being assigned to new souls to ‘round them out’ before they can move on to Earth. Although this is not accurate Biblically, the Holy Scripture contains many references to our Lord ‘knowing us’ before we were born testifying both to His omniscience and position as Creator of all aspects of reality who knew the end from the beginning.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made… Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” —Psalm 139:13-16

CONTENTMENT— Joe is stunned to learn that his barber had always wanted to be a Veterinarian. Joe laments that he must be unhappy, but his barber counters that he is as happy as a clam. The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians speaks clearly on this.

“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” —Philippians 4:13

Furthermore, we see that after Joe attains his dream job he has a moment of clarity and doesn’t feel as fulfilled as he had expected. We remember the joy he had mentoring the kids in his band class and can’t help but wonder along with him if that was the better path for him.

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” —Philippians 2:4

Our Lord Jesus himself addressed our desires, but in context of our Heavenly Father and in the proper order.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you.” —Matthew 6:33

The Kingdom of God— What, when and where is it? Answer

On the other hand, 22, who has never known joy, gets a taste of it on Earth when she takes in its beauty (God’s creations). Later, Joe experiences a bit of that wonder as seen through 22’s eyes.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” —Psalm 19:1

PURPOSE— Joe’s “spark” is his love of music, but he takes it to the next level when he declares, “My only purpose on this planet is to play.” As the film’s angelic stand-ins tell him, his spark is not his purpose. Mentoring, whether it be to his students or 22 seems to be at the core of both his contentment and his purpose. Our Heavenly Father wants nothing less for us, but we are to be looking at Him if we want to find our purpose.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” —Jeremiah 29:11

“Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” —2 Timothy 1:9

Conclusion

“Soul” splits its time between two worlds, the metaphysical and the real, and in the process produces the kind of thrilling visuals we have come to expect from Pixar. Story-wise, this may be the studios’ most adult film yet. The drawback being that the emotional crossroads Joe is going through will not resonate with a younger audience. The film is unlikely to hold the interest of many youngsters.

The middle act, where 22 is in Joe’s body and Joe is in his therapy cat is the most engaging and features the film’s most hilarious scenes, but that tone is quickly lost when that chapter comes to an abrupt close.

“Soul” has some decent messages, but it is combined with a confused Hindu/New Age worldview. Sadly, it misses the opportunity to make the final leap to address our true purpose or God and His wonderful ultimate plan for mankind. Ultimately, “Soul” comes across as a somewhat fascinating but often middling effort that falls short of Pixar at its best.

  • Violence: Mild
  • Profane language: Minor
  • Occult: Minor
  • Vulgar/Crude language: None
  • Nudity: None
  • Sex: None
  • Drugs/Alcohol: None
Article Version: December 28, 2020

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—I feel like this movie will have mixed reviews from the religious world. No, probably not a factual, Bible-sourced look at the afterlife. Of course not! If we expect popular movies to start turning towards biblical truth well be waiting for a very long time.

But if we look at what is made and apply our biblical lense, we may find growth points for our life and talking points for our conversations with the lost… See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Brendan, age 47 (USA)
Positive—“Soul” was outstanding. Great story, warm, and well acted throughout. For those afraid that it will cast doubt upon your god, fear not, they insinuate mention and confirm both heaven and hell and mention the flick doesn’t take place there—the ascent to heaven is insinuated.

Unless your faith is extremely fragile, feel free to enjoy!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
James, age 42 (USA)
Negative
Negative—“SOUL” delivered more than we had hoped for. Going into the movie, we were told that it provided an excellent portrayal of the African American community and a man’s struggle to find his identity. We expected to see a loving family, strong friends, and situations that inspired the main character, Joe, to find his true value and purpose in life. NOT…

What SOUL actually delivered was a mix of mysticism and false religion through Joe’s journey to the afterlife, beforelife, and The Zone. In the afterlife, everyone goes to heaven which stands in stark contrast to biblical teaching. Christ said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”. (Matt. 7)

In the beforelife, souls are created, and once attaining their spark, they are united with a body. All of this is controlled by the Jerrys. However, the Bible reminds us that “[God] you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psa. 139).

In The Zone, Moonwind and the other mystics perform astral projection, levitation, charka crown, and trances.

God instructs us, “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.” (Lev. 19).

So, what should we make of this—Harmless Fun or Harmful Fantasy. We chose the latter. SOUL provides an unscriptural view of finding man’s purpose. “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” (Eccl. 12) The creators of SOUL stated that they purposely interviewed multiple religious leaders to develop a holistic view of the spirit world. So the question for parents is, “Is this the spirit world I want my children to embrace”?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Grace And Rodney Darville, age 15 and 59 (USA)
Negative—I started watching this movie and it didn’t sit right with my spirit. The movie paints lies about what happens when we die and our creation. The world needs to understand the reality of death—if we aren’t covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, we will spend eternity separated from God.

Growing up, I believed in reincarnation. These ideas are not something to be played with. If God didn’t save me from those beliefs, I would not have eternal life in Jesus Christ.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Amelia, age 21
Negative—Watched Disney-Pixar’s newest film late last night. Without spoiling it for any prospective viewers, there wasn’t much jazz, at least not enough. It used dodgy pseudo-Eastern philosophies and had “inclusion” advisers, faith advisers and of course music advisers. Whilst what jazz there was, was lovely, the dramatic score by Nine Inch Nails” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, was a bleepy bloopy electronic mush.

By being “inclusive,” it became exclusive, by featuring then dodgy philosophies (hardly “faith”) and excluded anything remotely Judaeo-Christian.

Though there were humorous moments with the lead character and a cat, ultimately, “Soul” was, well, soulless.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
Dirk Wickenden, age 53 (United Kingdom)
Negative—“Soul” failed to acknowledge the divine sovereignty. Can a dead person decide for himself to go back to his own body and live it again as he please it? Joe tried to do that just to fulfill his self proclaimed purpose in life or his vocation. The bible teaches us that human being die only once and then we are judged (Heb. 9:27) We cannot play God with our lives. It is God who made us and He is the one who calls the shots. He is in charge. But in this movie, “22” played god with the soul of other people.

“Soul” teaches us the emptiness of getting towards our spark. Why? Please try to analyze when Joe finally played with the Jazz sensation Dorothy, Joe asked Dorothy, is this all? After all his heaven and earth manipulation and effort to return to his body, Joe was not content. Did he he really find his purpose? Is vocation in life, a purpose per se? In the Christian view, our purpose is in God alone who is our Master. Indeed, we are His slave. Our purpose is to please Him. We are His slave. A slave focused on how to please his Master at all cost.

“Soul” leads us towards non-Christian beliefs and Eastern religions. If we really hold on to the teachings of the Bible, let the Bible guide us how to live and to understand spiritual things. Let us keep on digging the truth of God, while sluggards sleep. So, beware.

“Soul” movie is saturated with non-Christian beliefs.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Cyrus Gd, age 42 (Philippines)
Comments from young people
Positive—It’s a good movie that teaches us about our passion, purpose, and what it means to live. It doesn’t follow some Christian Teachings such as how souls are created, but it is justified, as it is a movie catered to people from all walks of life, so concepts like the one mentioned are generalized so ideas are more digestible.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
John, age 18 (Philippines —Catholic)
Positive—Is a good movie. There is nothing objectionable in its content. While the movie definitely does not align with the Bible, the way everything is presented is not factual; it is to push a positive message about life.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Liam, age 14 (New Zealand)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I have seen enough from the trailer to know this movie is dangerous and offensive to the people of God. They feature in this film what appears to be the Soul of Mother Teresa praying with her iconic White Rosary beads and quickly a small Soul takes her beads from her and throws them in her face; allowing the cross to fall to the ground. Take note that the devote Nun is not depicted in the Kingdom of heaven or any where close to the throne of God as is stated in the Bible those Saints will be gathered in front of the Throne and all others awaiting under the throne of God. Outside the gates dwell those deviants and Sorcerer’s and the like. As told in the vision of John in Revelations. They don’t include JESUS. The movie makes the False Claim that SOULS grow in a garden-type spirit world where they “get their quirks and interests and personality” We did not grow in the wilds of the Kingdom of Heaven like mushrooms, we were made by the Living God! We become who we are here on Earth! Don’t let your kids watch this, as it will form an Atheists heart in them. This movie goes against all the Dogmas of Christianity. Protect yourselves and don’t put garbage into your brain.
David Bland (Greek Orthodox), age 32 (USA)
Positive—I have not yet viewed this movie but have read some reviews and comments to know about the nature of the religious content; I want to comment. We are Christians, and my husband and I intend to watch first, preparing for explanation to our 8-year-old son when we watch it with him.

I have met many people who hid things from their children, because they were afraid of them, and their children grew to resent them and did not stay in the Christian faith. There are far more children who gain atheists” hearts because they feel as if their parents brainwashed them because of only allowing them to see, read, or hear Christian things. See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: no opinion
Lindsay, age 35 (USA)