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What can I learn from Disney Pixar’s movies?

Most of us (if not everyone) enjoys watching movies no matter if it is at home, at the cinema, alone or with some company. There is something magical about films that utterly absorbs us all, to the point that it completely takes all of our attention (which, believe it or not, is not an easy task).

Probably that is the secret ingredient for the success of mass media and entertainment organization Disney Pixar. Many of us can agree that Disney was unquestionably a huge part of our lives. Perhaps, these movies have shaped the person we are today. Yet, Can we truly learn something from these film animations and short films? Can they make an impact in society?

The big giant of industrial entertainment has been mentioning and tackling social issues for longer than we could imagine. And that is precisely the case of one of the latest, all-new-feature film, SOUL.

This movie follows the journey of a middle-school band teacher (and jazz pianist) in New York. Who, after receiving some extraordinary (life-changing) news, ends up in the afterlife. When trying to get back to Earth (with the help of other characters), he might discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions. However, there is so much more behind the scenes.  

* Do not fear to keep reading since there are no spoilers in this article. *

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Image 1 – Poster of the movie SOUL. Taken from: Flickering Myth 

The flick that premiered last Christmas on Disney+ provides an insightful perspective on the meaning of life and the importance of mindfulness. In case you have not heard of it, mindfulness is a state of awareness, embracing your present feelings and thoughts (without judgment). 

Why is Disney covering this? - you might wonder. Well, it is clear that we are under a massive mental health crisis. It is a global issue, and we are not immune to it; anyone can suffer from it. Unfortunately, this pandemic has made it even harder for many to handle their mental and emotional glitches. And even though it is so common, there is still a lot of stigmas attached to it. 

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Image 2 – The Great Before jump to Earth scene. Taken from: Cartoon Brew

Nonetheless, maybe movies can be part of the solution by providing relatable characters who have overcome psychological problems. Giving hope and perhaps transmitting the message that ‘you are not alone’.

SOUL brings a new and more mature perspective to which also older audiences can relate. The film addresses the heavy burden we carry while trying to find the purpose of why we are here, instead of enjoying that we are here and being thankful that we are alive. 

If we cling to a dream and spend our entire lives focusing on reaching that dream, we might not be present to appreciate the journey. Additionally, having that all-or-nothing mindset might make us believe that we are a failure if we do not achieve that dream. At this point, we can see the marvellous work Disney did by visualizing something that seems incapable of being reflected.

The movie also shows how the simple moments and details (tiny sparks) are the things that remind us that we are alive. 

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Image 3 – Characters enjoying good, old jazz music. Taken from: People

I know everyone has different journeys. We may never understand what the other one is going through and, the same things probably will not work for everyone. But there are somethings we can try (as long as you want my advice, remember I am NOT an expert):

  1. Remind yourself that you are NOT alone.
  2. Try to find and embrace those sparks that are healthy for you (everyone has them).
  3. Nobody knows what we are doing (or at least I have not met the first person who does) so follow your dreams while enjoying the process of navigating in life (follow your sparks).

By Tatiana Huertas Medina