I am not a huge TV or movie watcher, except when I get ready to fall asleep and am a “co-watcher” next to my wife, who usually has a show on as background noise, to educate herself with a new documentary, or catch up on the latest crime show. She also loves going to the movies (pre-pandemic) and I’d tag along more for the popcorn. It’s not that I am AGAINST movies or TV, I’d just prefer to do something else like read, listen to or record music, or any number of things. So, I was surprised when she suggested we watch Soul this morning that I was actually, really interested! I believe that interest was in large part because, since Christmas, I’ve been seeing posts on social media that were lukewarm at best to outright livid about this Pixar/Disney creation. Some of my most vocal Christian friends were LIVID! My reaction was similar to when Harry Potter first burst onto the social stage of chatter, and so many of my acquaintances were throwing a fit about witchcraft and the like…..what? Like, I better check this out!
So as the show started, having not known really any details about this movie except it was “hogwash” or “satanic” or “humanistic garbage”, I rubbed my hands together in anticipation. I mean, give me the story line that has all these Christians bent out of shape! I wanted to see all the controversy and anguish and laugh a little at the audacity of their stance. It became clear right away that the premise of the afterlife (and the time before our birth) was super, extremely far from Christian concepts. I was like, “Oh ho ho ho, this is gonna be good!”
But I am SOOOOOO disappointed! Any controversy for this movie, in my opinion, is only in place because people have run out of other things to be bent about. What a great movie, despite having NO real controversy!
This movie shows how we should be – and can be – content. How we can find purpose in living. How we can look beyond ourselves or use the lot we’ve been given to bless others. How our existence, broken or incomplete or seemingly inconsequential, is valuable and meaningful and powerful. We are unique and important and special! We might focus on the wrong things that don’t bring the joy we anticipated, but we are more than capable of realizing this error and more than make up for it. All Christian concepts that have room to manifest themselves more in our society today.
It amazes me that so many on my social feed missed this, all because the premise of the before/afterlife was formed from a different worldview. (Never mind that many of the same people are huge Game of Throne fans – as am I – and had no problem with night walkers and flying dragons, but I digress.) I don’t mean to belittle anyone’s faith or worldview, but it strikes me as very much like the Pharisees who called out Jesus for breaking the social expectations for “being faithful” and totally missed the miracles He provided. Oh, you healed a man? Don’t you know you aren’t supposed to work on Sunday? You have defiled the Lord’s Day! Oh, you eat with sinners but you avoid us holy ones? You are obviously unclean!
I recommend Soul, a movie that was entertaining, touching, had amazing animation, and also portrayed a Black protagonist without needing to pull from stereotypes or diminished foundations to make us white folk comfortable. It made me feel more spiritual, more human, and created a desire to use everything that God has given me to interact with everyone around me in a positive way. And, if that isn’t Christ-like, I don’t know what is.
Check out Soul on Disney+, steaming now.