Life of Pi

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +4

Content: +2

Suraj Sharma, Gerard Depardieu, Tabu. Sci-Fi action drama. Based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel. Screenplay by David Magee. Directed by Ang Lee.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Pi is a 16-year-old Indian boy (Suraj Sharma in a virtuoso performance) whose passage to a new life in Canada aboard a freighter ends in a shipwreck in the Pacific. He is left to fend for himself on a life raft with an orangutan, hyena and Bengal tiger. We begin to realize that the different creatures symbolize different thematic elements of life as Pi struggles to survive.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Profound and spiritual, Life of Pi is also the most visually stunning film of the year. Like Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, Life of Pi bedazzles with CGI visuals that add to and support the film’s viscerally emotional impact. As with Mr. Malick, filmmaker Ang Lee is unafraid of bringing the subjects of God, faith, and the seeking of spiritual fulfillment to the Cineplex.

As a boy, the lead ventures into Hinduism, Christianity and Islam, for a while embracing them all as way to eternal life. Understand, for me there is only one path to the Father and that’s by way of accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of my life. This isn’t a film designed to proclaim John 3:16. But for me it was not the intent of the filmmaker to debate our spiritual journey’s road, but merely to remind moviegoers that there are those who have found one.

This vibrant and esoteric work of art doesn’t proselytize a certain religion. It does, however, what so few films do: it suggests that we become aware of spiritual matters and rely on faith when the conundrums of the day overwhelm. Like any artist attempting profundity, writer David Magee and director Ang Lee provide a complex tapestry that sets a mood for the scrutiny of and confirmation our own beliefs.

Filmmaker Ang Lee does more than awe us with his narrative; he taps into our subconscious, delving into spiritual and life-altering subjects. Through his adventures, Pi has been used to cause viewers to discuss matters of the soul. Of course, great art is many things to many viewers. Those who only focus on the mental and physical aspects of their existence, therefore, may not appreciate or get the spiritual complexities being laid before them. For some, upon reflection and discussion, certain elements may begin to sink in and cause inner examination.

Warning: I felt this PG-rated film deserved a PG-13 for its jolting action sequences. This isn’t a Sinbad-like adventure meant for kids, as the film’s poster might suggest. Along with the reflective and ethereal subject matter, there’s substantial violent content (a hungry tiger and a defenseless goat, a vicious hyena and a downed zebra, etc. – get the picture?), none of which are suitable for little ones. But I think the symbolism and parables that make up this resonate tale will challenge teens and up, as well as spellbind.

As for the all-roads-lead-to-salvation theory, I quote John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Can this verse be interpreted differently than what the followers of Christ have based their beliefs upon? Will those after death acknowledge Christ as the one Son of God and then receive pardon?

I personally wouldn’t want to risk my eternal soul on the more liberal answers to those questions. Sadly, there are those who venture into foreign religions, doing so because they want to seek solace anywhere but at the feet of Jesus. Though I suspect all of us Christians have questioned our faith at some juncture, down deep our spirit knows that it knows. And if we continue to meditate upon biblical teachings, ultimately the Holy Spirit guides us back to a state of peace.

Didn’t mean to turn this into a sermon, but see what the film did for me? Whatever the filmmaker’s intent, the film causes spiritual reflection. I get excited about a film like Life of Pi because it is different and it does cause one to ponder that which will last.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
20th Century Fox

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Towards the beginning of the film children make fun of the lead’s first name; calling him crude names; but the lead addresses the name-calling with cleverness.

Obscene Language: I caught no objectionable language.


Violence: Wild animals kill and eat other animals; though the filmmaker avoids much of the gory visuals of the kill, still several scenes jolt you, one right out of your seat; it is not for little ones. Some blood.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: Both animals and the boy get seasick, resulting in vomiting, which the filmmaker shows us in detail.

Running Time: 127 minutes
Intended Audience: Mature viewers

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