How to Watch 'Soul Woman' Online: Stream the Film for Free on HBO Max. HBO Max is the only place to watch Soul Woman online

A musician who has lost his passion for music is transported out of his body and must find his way back with the help of an infant soul learning about herself.

Directors: Pete Docter, Kemp Powers (co-director)

Writers: Pete Docter (story and screenplay by), Mike Jones (story and screenplay by) 

Stars: Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton  

This typically ambitious Pixar animation comes on like a fever-dream cross between Disney’s Fantasia and Powell and Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death, with a bizarre hint of Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones thrown in for good measure. A tale of a music teacher who loses his life but discovers his soul, it’s a visually sumptuous riot of ideas, pitched somewhere between a playful musical, a divine comedy and a metaphysical drama.

Just as the Minions movie opened to the delightful helium sounds of its heroes happily “ba-ba-BA”-ing the famous Universal theme, so Soul begins with the distinctive Disney anthem being jazzily murdered by a discordant school band. If music teacher Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) could wish upon a star, he’d wish to be somewhere else, preferably tinkling the ivories at a swinging club. Joe’s dream comes true when he gets a late-in-the-day call asking him to sit in with hip jazz saxophonist Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett). The audition goes well – so well, in fact, that Joe leaves with his head in the clouds and promptly falls to his death down an open manhole.

So far, so slapstick. Yet finding himself on a moving stairway to the Great Beyond, and determined not to miss the chance of a lifetime, Joe runs the other way and winds up in the Great Before, a dreamy neverland where protean souls are assigned “unique and individual personalities” before being sent to Earth. Here, he meets 22 (Tina Fey), who has refused to take her place in the real world despite the best efforts of a string of teachers, including Gandhi, Lincoln and Mother Teresa (“I made her cry”). And thus it falls to the disembodied Joe to help 22 find her spark, with unexpected body-swapping results. 

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