Soul watch the movie

Pixar’s “Soul” is about a jazz pianist who has a near-death experience and gets stuck in the afterlife, contemplating his choices and regretting the existence that he mostly took for granted. Pixar veteran Pete Docter is the credited co-director, alongside playwright and screenwriter Kemp Powers, who wrote Regina King’s outstanding “One Night in Miami.” Despite its weighty themes, the project has a light touch. A musician might liken “Soul” to an extended riff, or a five-finger exercise, which is very much in the spirit of jazz, an improvisation-centered art that’s honorably and accurately depicted onscreen whenever Joe or another musician character starts to perform.

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The prologue peaks with Joe (voiced by Jamie Foxx) falling into an open manhole and ending up comatose in a hospital. It’s a bummer twist ending to a great day in which Joe was finally offered a staff job at his school, then nailed an audition with a visiting jazz legend named Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett) who had invited him to play with her that night. After his near-lethal pratfall, Joe’s soul is sent to the Great Beyond—basically a cosmic foyer with a long walkway, where souls line up before heading toward a white light. Joe isn’t ready for The End, so he flees in the other direction, falls off the walkway, and ends up in a brightly colored yet still-purgatorial zone known as The Great Before…