Joe Gardiner, voiced by Jamie Foxx, in "Soul"

It could have been easy — a Pixar movie about living every day to the fullest with creative animation and a moralistic lesson about who and how to be. I watched Soul because everyone was talking about it, but this is what I expected. What came was surprisingly complex, carefully crafted, and exactly the movie we all needed to end 2020.

In 2015, everyone was talking about a Pixar animated film called Inside Out. Somehow, maybe taking their younger relatives to see it or walking into a theatre with an edible and nothing else to do, everyone had seen it, not just kids.

And everyone loved it.

Suddenly, a children's film about the complexity of emotions was telling everyone about themselves. What was remarkable about Inside Out was that it talked to its audience without belittling them and did what the best children's movies do: told a smart story in an accessible way.

The unintended effect was how well it was received by adults alike. Inside Out approached emotions in a way which felt hopeful, yet opposite to grind culture or what has become known as "toxic positivity." Soul comes from the same creators to continue the same work — examining our inner lives.

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