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Pixar’s Soul is going to make you sit quietly and question the nature of your existence

‘Is all this living really worth dying for?’

Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

Pixar has a thing about exploring death. It doesn’t happen in all of its movies, or even super directly, but the thread is there. Nemo’s mom and Ellie didn’t make it 10 minutes into their respective movies. The Toy Story saga was all about coming to terms with immortality. Coco took a young boy to the beyond. Onward halfway resurrected a dad. It’s cool. Soul, the latest feature out this summer, goes beyond — it’s about what happens before you even live.

Granted, to get there, the main character, Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx), has to die. Well, almost die. After securing the gig of a lifetime, the middle school band teacher accidentally steps into a manhole and finds his soul separated from his body. Realizing this means death, like, real soon, he kinda flips out and ends up in a weird mystical dimension where pre-Earth souls learn to develop personalities. It’s there that he teams up with 22 (Tina Fey), a soul who just doesn’t get what the big deal about life is. Joe tries to tell her all the cool things about living. She wonders if it’s worth dying to live. I can’t deal with this level of existentialism this early in the morning.

Also featuring the voice talents of Daveed Diggs and Phylicia Rashad, Soul hits theaters on June 19.

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