Disney/Pixar’s Soul Leaves Your Soul Feeling Sore: An Anti-Black Train Wreck from Start to End
Written by Lennox Orion
When something reveals itself , listen. At the 14 minute mark of this movie a group of on screen characters start chanting “ hell” and I realized as the credits began to roll that it was a fourth wall break — they were trying to warn me just like Lakeith Stanfield’s titular character in Get Out: these characters were trying to warn me, this movie is hell.
Why is this movie so unwatchable that it deserves its comparison to an eternal punishment caused by evil deeds, I’ll explain.
Joe is a struggling artist who longs to be a Jazz musician but currently is a teacher to middle school band. One day his former student reaches out with an offer for a gig ( a sign that he is an incredible teacher but whatever all teachers secretly want to be “real artist”) he auditions and is phenomenal. He gets the gig of his dreams and then immediately falls into a manhole placing him in a coma.
When he “ wakes up” he discovers he is dead and begins to try and get back to earth. In a blatant rip off of the first episode of The Good Place Eleanor Shellstrop I mean Joe pretends he is someone he is not and must teach a rambunctious soul to find her “ spark.
The Eleanor copy soul is named “22”. She has been mentored to find her spark by a random mix of notable names throughout history and now Chidi I mean Joe has to help her. Joe wants this badge souls get once they find their spark that allows them to enter earth. Joe’s original plan was to steal her earth badge and leave her ass go play his show and enjoy the rest of his Black ass life. But for a reason unbeknownst to me he confides in her and they hatch a plan together. She then is a nuisance and fucks it up somehow landing her soul in his body. To be clear Tina Fey enters the physical body of Joe, Black ass Joe, and Joe enters the body of a fucking cat.
Typical human being is new at being human and actual human is an animal, and new at being an animal nonsense ensues. The soul 22, makes things difficult along the way resulting in her stealing Joe’s body away from him. Let’s reiterate not only is Fey in the body of a Black man she also steals it for her own purposes. When they meet again Joe fairly reads her for filth and goes about his life. For some reason again UNBEKNOWNST TO MY BLACK ASS he goes back to the other world for her and literally dies for this bitch.
All the Horrible Details:
That’s how this Get Out but you don’t actually leave went. Here are most hellish details.
First let us say the obvious. It joins a long list of films that turn a BIPOC character into a non-human form for a majority of its run time. I’m not determined enough but for someone who is: calculate the exact amount of time our main character Joe is an actual human body, and scream into the void.
Second is just the words Tina Fey has the Midas touch except for white supremacy because everything she touches turns into white savior propaganda written over and over again. Fey adds nothing to the film but takes everything a masterclass performance in whiteness. Fey’s character at many points choses the whitest course of action: in the beginning we learn this to be literal when we see her choose to sound like a white suburban woman because it is the most annoying voice she could pick & when she steals Joe’s body for her own purposes.
Third is each moment of anti Blackness that I noticed listed with its time stamp. Yes, I was determined enough for this because of the lack of math involved in this tedious task because I hate all forms of math and counting. Why yes, that was a tangent but this film doesn’t deserve my complete focus even in criticism.
- Fey’s character enters the soul of a Black man: 35:18–36:39
- Fey’s character as a Black body performing Blackness at the barber shop and being a better person than Joe ( it’s literally stated how he is being so considerate today): 51:55–55:24
- This random ass villain comes out the cut and goes to earth to snatch Joe back who escaped. ( I’ll let you make the brain connection there). And thinking he has Joe he momentarily kills the wrong Black man. After putting his soul back in his body he jokes sorry but you’re fine. There is also a pretty weird ``stop eating processed foods or you will actually die “joke thrown in to season the anti Black & anti poor & fatphobic tropes of the film. The camera pulls out to a traumatized looking man holding his knees. : 56:12–57:01
- Fey’s character steals the body of Joe to go find her passion in life: 1:07:14–1:09:13
- Joe saves his white savior: 1:23:02–1:26:02
- Joe dies for Fey’s character: 1:26:52-End Credits
And probably many more. But these are the moments I loudly gasped. My mouth opened stunned by the action on screen.
I recognize I am being harsh on Soul but I wish I could be harsher. I wish to pull and break apart this movie until it understands why I’m upset. Why I’m writing this review. Why I’m hurt. I want this movie to know that I was excited, foolishly optimistic that a Black story would shine through.
I expected some concessions to white supremacy of course, it surrounds us, touches everything we make and do, the ever present force acting upon us like gravity. But I did not expect this love letter to whiteness. To us once again being portrayed as happy to give our lives for whiteness to be the sacrificial negro. So as I look at the beautiful animation I remember how robbed I feel of a Disney movie in which I’m human. In which I don’t have to hurt. Is it too much to ask for, to be looked at as human. To tell stories that don’t hurt.
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