Movie Review: Life of Pi

Ratings for reviews will appear above the fold, while the review itself will appear below the fold to avoid spoilers for anyone that wants to go into it with a blank slate.

Jean-Paul’s rating: 5/5 stars

I am not normally a fan of going to see movies that are based off of books before reading the book.  Mostly, this is because the books are almost always better than the movie.  But it’s also because seeing the movie firms in your mind the way the characters look and sound.  This can somewhat spoil the book.  Before you go any further, I have some advice: Read the book now then read this review and see the movie.  I have not read the book yet, but it’s definitely on my list now.

I really didn’t know much about the movie going into it except for what I saw on the previews.  Boy is in shipwreck.  Boy survives.  Tiger survives.  Boy and tiger try to survive together.  Boy and tiger see some really cool special effects.  None of this made me think that the book would be worth reading.  That was a mistake.

“Life of Pi” is like looking into a mirror.  What stares back is your soul.  Spirituality and metaphor underlie everything in the movie.  The lessons you learn from the movie reflect more how you see the world than any real or imagined meaning intended by the director (Ang Lee).  This is brilliant film making.

For me, “Life of Pi” tells us about the necessity of story telling.  Stories have held a sacred place in our hearts since the dawn of language.  They are used to express what came before and what comes next.  They are the spark of our creativity and have the power to hold an audience spellbound.  They can also be a necessary means of survival.

What do you do when disaster happens to you?  What do you do when those you love most die?  What do you do when you have witnessed unthinkable things?  What do you do when you have done unthinkable things you would never think yourself capable of?  You tell yourself a story.  You tell others the story.  And in doing so, you save your humanity and you get on with your life.