Release date: Friday, Dec. 25 (3 a.m. ET)
Streaming on: Disney Plus
Cast: The voices of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Angela Bassett, Daveed Diggs
Director: Pete Docter
Run time: 1:47
Just because we're not going to theaters doesn't mean we can't watch Soul on Christmas Day! And watch we will, because it looks like Pixar's back in a bold way, with a trippy, soulful experiment that looks at how we become the people we are.
Thanks to trailers that hint at the return of the deep thinking seen in Inside Out, we've figured out that this story of Joe (voiced by Jamie Foxx), a middle school teacher who loves jazz has a lot going on under the surface-level. Joe's only problem for his upcoming realizations? It's gonna take a near-death experience to get him there.
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Soul also co-stars the voices of Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) and Tina Fey (SNL), as well as Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson (who pays a drummer, naturally), Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show) and Richard Ayoade and Alice Braga, who have roles in The Great Beyond, the world Joe travels to. We'll try and keep the story details slim, as the inventive works here seem worth keeping a secret.
Soul is directed by Pete Docter, the chief creative officer of Pixar, who took on the role as he was ascending to the position following John Lassetet's ignominious discharge.
How to watch Soul on Disney Plus
Soul will arrive on Disney Plus, the only place to watch it, on Friday (Dec. 25). We expect it to be available from 3 a.m. ET on.
Disney Plus gives you access to the entire Disney vault of classics like Frozen, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast as well as newer hits like The Mandalorian, Hamilton and more. And you can get it all for $6.99 (until a price hike in March). You can also get the $12.99 bundle to throw in Hulu and ESPN Plus, to make a suitable package for some cord cutters.
How to watch Soul on Disney Plus internationally
Disney Plus is available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, so it's not going to be tough to get access.
As we see in the below trailer, Joe's having the time of his life — booking the jazz club gig of his dreams — until he doesn't watch where he's walking. That's a life lesson it seems we'll never stop forgetting about.
Soul is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with a current score of 97% after 143 reviews at the time we checked. But there are some prominent nay-sayers.
Leah Greenblatt at Entertainment Weekly writes "Soul feels easily like one of the best Pixar movies in years, though calling it that also seems a little bit unfair to the target demographic, like ordering a kids’ meal off the menu with no child in sight. Technically, yes, you can eat those tiny nuggets or PB&J sandwich yourself; but were they actually meant for you?"
Ty Burr at the Boston Globe noted "Soul is messy, maudlin, funny, ridiculous, and poignant. In other words, it has soul."
Newsday's Rafer Guzman came out frustrated by Soul's "combination of artistry, charm and a Pixar formula that is starting to feel tuckered out."
And at the New Yorker Richard Brody's small blurb for the film shows a bit of disappointment, noting "Far from teaching children to follow their dreams, the movie—directed by Pete Docter and co-directed by Kemp Powers—advocates leaving the dreaming to the pros."