Harland Banks’s review published on Letterboxd:
This has been a tough year, not just for me but for pretty much everyone. This is the first year I truly reflected on my life and asked myself those tough questions about myself and what my true purpose is and have no answer. My lack of self knowledge has made put me in a pretty depressive state and I haven't been able to figure out why I haven't been able to understand myself and what I want in life. I haven't been able to accept this unknown part of my life until last night when I finally got to watch this beautiful film Soul. Soul truly helped me put into perspective the true beauty in the randomness and gift of life.
Soul was the perfect film for me to experience with the place I'm in right now. I don't think I have ever truly connected to a film like this since maybe Moonlight. This film shattered my heart and rebuilt in the most intense way possible. The beauty of Soul is that it is a film that can truly be pinpointed and related to by anyone living any type of life. No matter what stage of life you are in and no matter what hurdles you are experiencing, Soul will speak to you in ways a film has never spoken to you before. Soul is the first film I've watched in a long time that truly understands life and seems to really understand me. A beautiful film about the beauty of life in everything that manages to understand what everyone strives for deep down and does an incredible job at showcasing those small things we take for granted while we strive for that thing we want.
On top of the beautifully extravagant story, Joe Gardner may be one of the best written and most relatable characters in cinema. Joe's selfish but completely understandable motivations and his entire character arc was something truly beautiful to experience and completely shattered any expectations I had coming into this film. Jamie Foxx also does an incredible job portraying Joe to the point where you can't recognize that Jamie Foxx is even in this film. The rest of this cast was also fantastic and every single character in this film was sensational and sensationally well written.
Soul is incredibly unique and has a very special charm and heart that separates it from any other film but still manages to have that little Pixar spark that every Pixar film has. With that being said, Soul is no typical Pixar film in it's ideas and the way it introduces and tackles these ideas. With a little subtlety here and there Soul for the most part is upfront and doesn't hide it's mature themes and beautiful ideology in anyway. This film has something it wants to say and they make it so not only can an older audience understand the message but they are straight forward enough that a child could understand the main themes of this film and I absolutely love that. I love that it doesn't shy away and stand as what it was created to be despite the typical expectations from Pixar fans.
Soul truly hits you like a train on both an emotional and intellectual way. Soul had every aspect of what makes an incredible film from a far range of emotions to incredible characters, gorgeous animation and some of the most inspiring ideology I've ever consumed. Soul will make you laugh, then you'll find yourself crying in the next second and nothing about this film ever feels overwhelming including the beautiful and powerful concept of the film. Soul is not only a beautifully created and incredibly well written film but it's also a film that I personally connected to on a very deep level and I believe that most people will also feel this deep connection to this film within themselves. Soul is heartbreaking yet heartwarming and tells one of the most important stories in cinema and manages to pull it off in a spectacular fashion. Soul is a film that will leave you asking questions about yourself and thinking about your life in ways you may not have ever thought about your life before. Pixar gave us another hit and this may be one of their greatest decisions. I definitely recommend this film to anyone but be prepared to experience a large variety of emotional turmoil!