And it's not very astonishing given Peter Docter taking up the director's chair. Being the chief creative officer of the Pixar Animation Studios, Docter glorified himself as the developer of such animated feature films as Up (2009)
and Inside Out (2015)
. Both of them favour existential issues as the paramount storyline. And Soul (2020)
may perfectly enclose the outstanding trio.
A middle school music teacher and jazz pianist Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx) is discontented with life — espousing himself to jazz music, he never attains something substantial. Once Joe receives a call from his former student Curley (Questlove) suggesting that Joe should audition for a vacant place in the band of jazz legend Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett). The testing goes surprisingly well — Joe gets the job and, having the head in the clouds, doesn't even notice anything happening in the street. But the watershed moment does come when Joe falls to death in a manhole.
However derisive this turning-point could seem, Joe comes to himself already on the way to the Great Beyond — or to the netherworld, as we would call it. Trying to evade it and to go back to life, he somehow manages to get to the Great Before — the world where human souls are trained to be eventually sent to Earth. By coincidence, Joe is assigned as a mentor of 22 (Tina Fey), a presumptuous and prima facie self-confident soul that doesn't even care about becoming a part of the human realm (which has been proven by failing attempts of lots of her famous ex-mentors — Kopernicus, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln and even Mother Teresa). Thus, having lost his meaning of life and the life itself, Joe commences helping 22 in searching for her own spark — the last element which entitles the soul to go to Earth.