How 22 found her spark

From Pixar’s Soul


Disney Pixar

22 and Joe helped each other find their sparks. How will you find yours?

Maya Adimora, Beyond the Gates editor

While we were deep in the throes of the pandemic and distance learning, Pixar lifted our spirits by allowing us to enjoy Soul from the comfort of our homes. While the film made history for having Pixar’s first Black lead, fans were more drawn to its deuteragonist: 22.

When aspiring jazz musician Joe Gardner falls down a manhole, he becomes a disembodied soul in the “Great Beyond.” To get back to his physical body, Joe is forced to play the role of a mentor to a stubborn soul named 22. Once he helps her find her spark, or true passion, he will be able to take her Earth badge and return to the physical world. However, that is easier said than done when 22 accidentally returns to Joe’s body, and Joe inhabits a cat.

At first, 22 is resistant to the idea of finding her spark. She has spent centuries at The You Seminar and was mentored by countless exemplars, but none successfully helped her find her spark until Joe. On their quest back to the Great Beyond, 22 gets a chance to experience Earth through Joe’s body, which is something her previous mentors were unable to offer her. She realizes that her spark could be an appreciation for living.

Until this point, Joe (and probably the audience, too) assumed that a spark is one’s purpose in life or what they are meant to do on Earth, but 22’s very existence challenges this notion, and that’s why she has not been able to find her spark. 22’s willingness to find the beauty in everyday life, or an aspect of it, is what a spark truly is. So, when 22 accepts her Earth pass from Joe, her future is purposefully left up in the. It is up to the audience (yes, that includes you) to fill in the blanks and come up with your own interpretation of this movie.