Disney’s ‘Soul’ and the Meaning of Life

Every so often stories allow us to get lost in the realm of imagination and wonder, to transcend the confines of reality. They can take our breath away with beautiful, well-sequenced imagery, and have the ability to connect us through shared experiences of a relatable character. Most importantly, they have the power to remind us of who we were, who we are, and what we’ve been through, inspiring us to become all we know we can be. Disney’s ‘Soul’ did all this for me. 

Movies and T.V. shows have been saturated with social and political commentary lately, forcing various forms of ideology and propaganda down our throats. While I sometimes agree with the messages, I’ve found they make for bad entertainment, especially when the dialogue lacks subtlety. Fear of being preached to was why I hesitated to watch ‘Soul,’ but after viewing it I regretted putting it off for so long. There was no agenda, only a well-written and well-executed Disney movie with a powerful message about the meaning of life. So, if you’re having reservations as I was, you have nothing to worry about.

I’m not going to touch a lot on the politics surrounding this movie. However, know that my apprehension was the result of seeing too many characters in the entertainment industry reduced to their social identity. The main character in ‘Soul’ is black, but what made him relatable was his personality, his experiences, and his humanity. The fact that he is a person of color may contribute to his attributes, but it was the soul of the character I was able to identify with. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that was the case for most people who’ve seen it. The color of the skin only matters to those it matters to.

Minor Spoilers Ahead

‘Soul’ is about a man named Joe who consistently falls short of fulfilling his dreams. No matter how hard he tried, achieving his goals was just beyond his reach. Life threw obstacle after obstacle at him, but he kept hope alive and continued pursuing what he believed to be his destiny. Joe thought his life’s purpose, his meaning, derived from accomplishing what he set out to do since he was a child. When looking back at his life and his failures, he concludes it was all meaningless.

Admittedly, I often feel the same way. 

Joe is eventually given an opportunity to learn what living a meaningful life is really about. 

The lesson of this movie is that everyone’s journey will come to an end someday, and the measurement for a life well-lived won’t necessarily originate from our success. Fulfillment and purpose comes from the joys of pursuing the dream, from acknowledging and appreciating the wonders and miracles we tend to take for granted. Being conscientious and grateful to experience the small things (like taking that first bite of a slice of pizza you’ve been craving or having the ability to walk), and taking stock of the moment is what will lead us toward a life worth living with fewer regrets.

I know what I wrote above sounds like one of those affirmation or positivity memes, but I strongly recommend you watch this movie. Hopefully, it will remind you to live life in the moment and not base your satisfaction or purpose on your accomplishments, as Joe and I have. It helped me put some things in perspective as I’ve wrestled with my life’s purpose and trying to understand the meaning behind human suffering. My focus has been misplaced, happiness and meaning have been right in front of me all along.

Before You Go!

What do you think? What makes life meaningful to you? What allowed you to figure that out? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the Comments section below! Also, if you like what you’ve read, you may enjoy my book as well! More details below!

My Book, Through the Devil’s Eyes, is Now Available at Barnes & Noble!
My Book, Through the Devil’s Eyes, is Now Available at Barnes & Noble!

Synopsis: God vs. Devil, Good vs. Evil—Who Will Win the Battle for the Souls of Mankind?

Through the Devil's Eyes is Also Available on Amazon!
Through the Devil’s Eyes is Also Available on Amazon!

You’ve Heard God’s Side of the Story. Time to Hear Mine!

Header Image by silviarita from Pixabay

3 thoughts on “Disney’s ‘Soul’ and the Meaning of Life”

  1. This movie was a surprise to me as well. I loved it. I think that as we go thru life and try to accomplish goals, we forget to look at how we are affecting others. I believe it is ok to have aggressive goals, but our purpose here on earth, and the important way to judge success, is how we affect others in a positive way.

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