Disney’s “Soul” not for young children [Of Stage and Screen]

Emily Carlisle

Hey everyone, welcome back to Of Stage and Screen. Over break I have consumed a lot of media, lots of binge watching TV shows and enjoying movies with my family. One of the most interesting movies I watched was Disney’s “Soul” which was just put on Disney+. Chances are you have seen the ads for it on TV because Disney had been promoting it since before the pandemic hit. Here’s the thing: the commercials made it seem like your average run-of-the-mill Disney children’s movie. But I don’t think that’s what it should be seen as. I want to start by saying it is a very cute movie with beautiful graphics and a lot of both heartwarming and hilarious moments, but I just don’t think it should be aimed towards young children.

First off, the way it was advertised made it look very similar to the 2015 Disney movie “Inside Out” which it really is not. “Soul” touches on some pretty deep topics that the young audience Disney is used to may not comprehend fully. Although none of this is directly a spoiler, here is a general warning for descriptions of the movie just in case you want to be surprised when you watch. The movie deals a lot with the concept of death and the afterlife but also with the concept of a soul being separate from the human body. It really makes the audience think about their lives and what is important to them. Although most children’s movies have some sort of message tied in, this one was truly the deepest, most mature message that Disney has sprinkled into a story. Watching this at 18 I loved the movie, but so much of it would not only go over children’s heads but just confuse them in general. I know it isn’t very Disney-like to make a cartoon PG-13 but if they ever were to, I think this would be the movie to do it to. 

Because so much of the content of this story would go over kids’ heads, I think many kids will be disappointed with the movie, expecting much more out of it. Sure the movie has the classic Disney style jokes and little moments, but some of it is so heavy that it brings the mood down a few times. Unlike “Inside Out,” this movie does not handle tough subjects from a child’s point of view; the main character is a middle school teacher and although there are a few kids in the movie, they don’t get much screen time. Disney did a great job making a very introspective movie for the people who understand it, but it differs so much from the standard set by previous Disney movies that I have to wonder why they chose to advertise it in the same playful way.