Dozens upon dozens of animated features have encouraged viewers to chase their dreams, but few have focused on setting realistic expectations. Pixar’s Soul breaks the mold by showing that happiness is more complicated than just pursuing the one thing you love the most.

Aspiring jazz musician Joe (Jamie Foxx) finally catches his break as he approaches midlife, only to fall through a manhole and die. Rather than accepting his death, he flees into a quirky cosmic bureaucracy, inadvertently being paired with a stubborn soul (Tina Fey) who refuses to be born into a body in the first place, having been overly pressured to decide in advance what her interests should be.

Their entertaining misadventures have a familiar carpe diem veneer, but the movie also shows that the bliss of success is often transitory, that it requires a lot of hard work, and that obsessing over your pursuits can be self-destructive rather than fulfilling. A spark can ignite a lifelong passion, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of enjoying the totality of experience.



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