Jonah Prisk’s review published on Letterboxd:
Pixar is one of if not my favourite production companies working today, they have produced some of my favourite films; childhood classics that still hold up, and have even improved a little, today. However, like Disney, their recent years have been slightly disappointing a catalogue of films that, though sometimes produce excellent original content, is littered with mediocre and creatively bankrupt sequels and prequels a far cry from the creative excellence of their early years. Soul changes that. Though there was no reason to expect any less with Pete Docters track record this film still surprised me in being as good as it was. Though I was not on board with every story choice (one at the end felt like a bit of a cop-out though not a significantly egregious one) I certainly thought this was Pixars best film in a few years. First off the animation was, of course, amazing; impeccable in fact, so stunning I could probably take any frame and make it a laptop screensaver. Pixar, like always, has outdone themselves. The design of the afterlife - or before life don't quite know what to call it - was beautiful and creative with a return to the well thought out and imaginatively crafted worlds of old Pixar. Should does what Pixar does best, world building, and like Docter's last film (inside out) the world is so thoughtfully and intricately crafted, with wonderful jokes and details in every frame. Soul does what the best of Pixar does, it tells a fun and unique narrative for all to enjoy, a narrative with wonderfully crafted moments of humour and kinetic storytelling but never pandering to kids. Like Wall-E and Inside Out before it Soul embeds itself with philosophical questions that make it a satisfying watch for people my own age and older. It asks universal questions and even, in a way, offers you a chance to examine your own life. What question can anyone relate to more than: what is my purpose in life? Purpose is what people spend years of thought and effort searching for and the answer this film gives is rather beautiful. Like with most of Pixar its theme boils down to finding the beauty in life and the wonder in humanity. That a life lived is not purposeless even if it may not have felt fulfilling. It is wonderful to see a film that expresses uplifting and heartwarming themes in a complex and, at times, adult way. Its not just like a hallmark Christmas film where, though the message may be somewhat similar, it ends with some on the nose dialogue, an emotionally manipulative score and, usually, a lot of hugging. Soul feels like it is saying something deep yet not something dark. Deep can so often be misconstrued as cynical, this idea that something hopeful cannot be deep, but it can. Soul is. It is wonderful to see. If you can't tell already I think Soul is a wonderful film and I can't wait to see what Pixar come out with next.