Soul. The message was powerful and clear.

Disclaimer: This is just my humble opinion on the movie. I watched it with my Heir Apparent. I wanted to highlight the pro(s) versus the con(s). Overall, I enjoyed it. This post has spoilers. I’m sorry. If you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading here.

Let me just say off the bat that Pixar played us accountants with Terry’s character. He was obsessive compulsive and I took great offense to him not using a pivot table to find out that Joe Gardner was missing. All accountants use pivot tables now. It’s 2020, the year of the murder hornets. Terry almost taking the wrong soul and then ruining his love of processed food was just dead wrong. Let me put that out there, right now. LOL!

However, you probably didn’t come here to read about Terry or the Jerry(s). You probably want to know as a Black American Mother and Woman, how I processed the movie.

I’m an accountant, yes like Terry. I think in table and matrices – although Terry was using a damn abacus, but I will let that go. Anyhoo, I broke everything down in table format.

PRO(S)CON(S)
Black characters in this story were not caricatures of Black Americans. They were layered.22 was voiced by a nonBlack actor. It would have been better if 22 was voiced by a Black actor. The Black / white dynamic was triggering for a myriad of reasons – mainly racism that Black people endure from white women.
Having a Black lead character with a kind spirit.Trigger: Black character was being the moral compass and motivator of the white character, who was a bit wayward. It brought back that butler / mammy trope. That seemed very antebellum south.
Visually seeing all the various Black characters on the screen made me feel good. Yes, they turned his soul blue, but the soul wasn’t in a body. I understand that concept. Trigger: The emotional violence of wanting something really good to happen for the Black character but then having it jeopardized by the white character’s selfishness. Wanting Joe to live and having that dangling in the balance is too close to home because Black Americans have only ever wanted to be able to achieve their dreams and some standard of normalcy but it is damn near always thwarted or reduced by racism.
The different personas of the Black characters. The barber was hilarious. His nuggets of wisdom were not missed. Trigger: A Black character being made to sacrifice his life and dream for a white character’s betterment. It goes back to that trope about Black people being the moral compass of privileged white folks.
The music was absolutely superb in this film. I could sit and listen to the music in this film all day. Great score.The trope that middle school kids are not serious about band needs to end. A lot of inner city kids are tethered to their extracurricular activities because it keeps them off the streets and they actually really are talented.
Seeing a Black male teacher making a difference with kids on screen was so heart warming. We need to see more of this whether it is animated or in a sitcom.
Having his old student tell him how much he impacted his life was also heart warming.
Joe coming to the conclusion that his life’s purpose or importance wasn’t about the big gig, but it is the culmination of the entire journey and his journey was filled with love and kind moments. That was powerful because so many times Black American life is depicted as deprave, poverty stricken and full of malaise because of society’s relentless commitment to dehumanize us. It was so wonderful to see a Black character that realized the beauty of his humanism.
All the Jerry(s) were who we aspire to be if we were in a post racial society and we all meditated three times a day. LOL!

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. And to be honest, I don’t necessarily think this movie was for kids. Given the message, I really think it was a feel good movie loaded with messages for adults.