Box art for Life of Pi

Life of Pi

action & adventure, drama

Embark on the adventure of a lifetime in this visual masterpiece from OscarĀ® winner Ang Lee*, based on the best-selling novel.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 12
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
0 out of 5
1 out of 5
Positive messages
5 out of 5
Positive role models
4 out of 5
1 out of 5
3 out of 5

Beautiful, emotional, intense story of faith and friendship.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Life of Pi is an intense, emotional story of survival and triumph against the odds, with themes of faith, friendship, and perseverance. Although it's rated PG, and there's virtually no strong language, sexual content, or blood, this adaptation of Yann Martel's bestselling novel has several very harrowing (especially in 3-D) scenes of storms, shipwrecks, the possibility of implied cannibalism, and zoo animals threatening humans and confronting, killing, and eating each other -- all of which are likely to be too much for younger children (as are the themes of allegory and mysticism, which will require thoughtful parental explanation). Pi is in near-constant peril throughout the story (though it's told as a flashback, so you know he'll survive) and, after losing his whole family, he must negotiate sharing a very small space with a large, unpredictable tiger (one of Pi's tactics involves peeing on part of the lifeboat they share). But through it all, he remains determined and optimistic, relying on his strong faith to see him through every challenge he must face.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about which version of Pi's story they think is true. Why do you think that? Which one do you think the movie wants you to believe?
  • What is the movie saying about faith? Is it necessary to be religious to be faithful? (Or vice versa?) How is Pi's faith tested?
  • How does the movie depict Pi's many losses? Do you think you could overcome the challenges he faces? How do his experiences change him as a character?
  • If you've read the book, how does the movie compare? What changes did you notice? Why do you think filmmakers sometimes change things when adapting books for the big screen?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 1
    see all Life of Pi reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Veteran filmmakers will warn you, don't film at sea and don't work with animals. Ang Lee built a vast tank in Taiwan and he whips up awesome storms. However,] watching the water here is more rewarding than watching the characters.

- David Thomson, The New Republic, Friday, June 14, 2013

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Ang Lee's Life of Pi is certainly something to behold. It is a visual feast for eyes and a story that has a huge heart and many philosophical questions about life, religion, death and human nature. That this film is as complex as it is does not come as a surprise. Director Ang Lee has always succeeded in creating a multilayered portraits of his characters and this film is no exception. Lee started with more intimate and smaller films like Wedding Banquet, Eat, Drink Man Woman and Sense and Sensibility. Since then he has gone to make bigger films with more epic scale. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which stands still as his masterpiece, was a fantastic mixture of his elegant approach to characters and eye popping action set pieces. That film is a perfect example of epic filmmaking at its very best. Even his most commercial film, Hulk, is something much closer to an art film than straight comic book adaptation. Lee is an auteur who has very unique voice as an storyteller and director. I admire his ability to tell his stories without rushing or unnecessary visual effects. That said it must be mentioned that Life of Pi is Lee's first film which he has made into 3D and to be honest i cannot see ay proper reason for that. I understand that Lee has felt interest for that format and wanted to try something new, but here the 3D effect just does not bring anything special into film. I have seen both 2D and 3D versions of this film and i actually prefer more the 2D one. The whole 3D is more distracting than necessary element. Same goes for Lee's odd choice to play with film's aspect ratio which keeps changing between 1.33 : 1 and 2.35 : 1. That was interesting choice but felt just a gimmick and did not have any impact on me. Without all the visual trickery this could have been as fantastic as Lee's own Crouching Tiger, but now it falls a bit short of becoming something larger than life. There are certainly moments that will have you on the edge of your seat. For example the emotionally devasting god storm scene is truly thunderous moment to watch. There is also fantastic support from cinematographer Claudio Miranda and composer Mychael Danna who has made one of his greatest scores with Life of Pi. Overall this is another accomplishment from Ang Lee and his crew. It has its flaws but films like this does not come that often anymore and i find this story deeply touching and beautiful. For those who are looking for an adventure film with big heart, Life of Pi serves an unforgettable journey that is worth to see.

- emilkakko, Wednesday, January 23, 2013

4 stars

A religious Indian boy is trapped on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. A mix of LIFEBOAT and (a somewhat faulty) relgious allegory, with the most spectacular visuals of 2012.

- 366weirdmovies, Wednesday, January 23, 2013

4 stars

Technically impressive and with astonishing visuals (despite the poor 3D), this is a magnificent and emotionally intense allegory that uses a lot of symbolism to raise questions about God, faith and how sometimes we can be forced to face our inner beasts. A wonderful film of rare beauty, to be seen many times.

- blacksheepboy, Tuesday, January 22, 2013