User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 646 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 57 out of 646

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  1. Dec 9, 2012
    10
    A spellbounding, mind-blowing and a wonderful experience with the strong and compelling storytelling and slight innovation of 3D technology, based on the novel of the same name written by Yann Martel and directed by Ang Lee, Life of Pi is easily one of the best films of this year. I am quite surprised by the fact that a supposedly "unfilmable" novel turned into an epic film and an astounding experience. Hats off to Ang Lee and his team, first of all. As we all know that this film is about a boy named Pi, who survives a disaster at sea where all of his family members get killed and he gets stuck on a life-boat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker and other animals consisting of a zebra, an orangutan and a hyena, and is set on a unusal adventure and learns so much along the way that his way of thinking changes. Pi is a very unusual character, who spends all his childhood in finding a right belief and for that, he is introduced to several religions including Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Played by Suraj Shurma (young Pi) and Irrfan Khan (Adult Pi), both of them give strong performances especially Khan, who also narrates throughout the film. His character seems so believable and his younger self is also quite strong. The best things about this film are the direction, incorporation of 3D technology which is way more than brilliant and the way of storytelling. It may have a simple storyline but it is still so strong and thought-provoking and teaches you a lot about finding your true self and believing in yourself. When you finish watching the film, it all depends upon you that what do you really want to believe. What is your opinion about Pi's story. What were you beliefs before watching the movie and what are your beliefs now. I believe in God with all my heart and soul, and I know what I want to believe and my faith is strong. It may not touch you spiritually but it really makes you want to believe in inspiring film-making and the real power of cinema and storytelling.
    Ang Lee's vision is so powerful, I have no idea why he picked this novel but I am really glad that he did and he made it so beautiful that every frame of the movie seems worth appreciating and with that, Yann Martel's imagination, which is really strong and quite fascinating how it is penned into the novel. A few of the scenes in the film are shot so beautifully that you want to feel everything that's happening in the movie, you feel like touching the water, you want to get on that boat with Pi and continue the epic adventure.
    Honestly, I'm not a fan of 3D technology but I can proudly say that this is the first film that made me actually believe in the entire 3D experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It has actually set a bar for upcoming 3D films. Sadly, I wasn't able to watch James Cameron's Avatar in 3D and I'm still upset about that but Life of Pi has impressed me enough that I can stop being sad about not watching Avatar in 3D and quite frankly, the whole 3D technology has finally got a new fan.
    Clever cinematography, beautiful background score, freaking brilliant visual effects and 3D experience, compelling, inspiring and spiritual storyline and screenplay, great performances, and outstanding direction. These are all the factors that make this film so wonderful that it turns into an epic experience. I easily tag Life of Pi as one of the epic and most wonderful experiences of 2012.
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  2. Dec 8, 2012
    10
    The bottom line: Great suspense, best special effects and a great story. I got my money's worth this time. Apparently this review has to be 150 characters long so you can stop reading anything past the first sentence if you want. Go watch the movie - if you can read the book first. I should check out the negative reviews. I don't get that. Some people wouldn't know a good movie if it bit them right in the old keester. Expand
  3. Dec 8, 2012
    10
    I'm still mulling through the writer's and director's meaning for this film. I was spellbound by the cinematography, the acting, and the story.
    Without the 3 D, it would have been just as wonderful.
  4. Dec 8, 2012
    9
    Ang Lee delivers a 3D masterpiece, a story about boy, tiger and boat have never been this compelling. Life of Pi told us about God and faith, but for me it is total grand entertainment.
  5. Dec 6, 2012
    9
    Movies that try to convey religious material, are more often than not duds for me, because they rely on the belief of that religion. It
  6. Dec 6, 2012
    10
    The Life of Pi was pretty emotional for me, as I am a cultural Hindu rather than a theistic follower. The storytelling was pretty spectacular in a sense of theological alternation and digital captivation. As "Pi" tries himself to be pluralistic about 3 major religions in India.
    Its quite a beautiful film! I highly recommend watching it.
  7. Dec 4, 2012
    10
    The most compelling movie of 2012. Life of Pi dares to cross boundaries in religious exploration, while remaining visually stimulating and action-packed. It transcendes genre and could easily be enjoyed by any audience. Outstanding performances by all cast and crew. If this film doesn't sweep award season then I have no faith left in the film industry.
  8. Dec 3, 2012
    9
    Brilliant use of 3d technology,
    A miraculous achievement of storytelling and ,
    A landmark of visual mastery.....
    Overall,,,,One of the best movie of the year.....
  9. Dec 1, 2012
    9
    Fascinating! On the surface, it appears the movie is just a show about a boy and a tiger. But upon reconsideration, it is far, far deeper and darker than first thought. Yes, we SEE a boy and a tiger, but what we hear is different than that. The boy is on a boat, cast aside from a ship disaster, and on it with him is a tiger--at least that's what we see. But the underlying story is about how he survived without food or water for 2/3 of a year. If one is to really review this, it has many literary devices in it--irony, foreshadowing, flashback, imagery, just to name the fewer, simpler ones to recognize. This is a masterpiece of a film. If a person is to figure out the symbolism involved in the story, it is gruesome to consider. But it seems realistic when one does consider it.

    This is a fun story for the kids, but it will also be a fascinating story for those of you who enjoy deep, deep symbolism and an underlying story inside the story that is told.

    Fascinating movie. One of the better ones we've seen in a long time.
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  10. Nov 30, 2012
    10
    Every now and then comes a movie that changes you in some way -- this was it for me -- A total rollercoaster that could have not be done better a lovely story to be enjoyed by all.
  11. Nov 29, 2012
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I honestly didn't expect to say this again in the current calendar year but "this is probably the best movie I have seen this year". Yes, I think this is probably even a better movie that The Dark Knight Rises which I was all but certain would be my personal Picture of the Year winner. Life of Pi was simply amazing. The story is incredible and the way the film is delivered couldn't be better. You truly go on this story with Pi Patel and Richard Parker. The acting by Suraj Sharma is surprisingly fantastic as well. Some people will surely call this movie boring because it has a slow pace to it but Tom Hanks' Castaway film was also on the slower side and as that movie showed, if a film is well done the slow pace allows for more emotion and connection to the characters. Shoot, I got watery eyes when Hanks' character lost Wilson and that was a stinking volleyball, lol. This movie plays along that same style of a slow paced story of survival but is done even better due to the incredible cinematography that rivals Avatar in terms of magnificence. Another thing Life of Pi did remarkably well was end without disappointment. By that, I do not mean that the ending isn't sad, I mean that the ending lives up to the film. Again, take Castaway for example. That movie was great but its ending was quick and left a lot to be desired. The ending for Life of Pi throws a subtle twist that is sort of a mind blowing moment. That subtle twist leaves you pondering the events of the film well after it ends. Expand
  12. Nov 29, 2012
    10
    I absolutely loved this movie! There were parts that I wanted to cry at and the movie at parts that really moved me! The end was amazing and I'll never forget that movie! I recommend the movie to anybody and everybody!
  13. Nov 28, 2012
    9
    I've read the book and surprisingly, found Life of Pi to be one of the few examples where the movie stands out over the book. Wonderfully shot/directed, well acted, spectacular visuals and a real emotional (philosophical even) movie. To top it off, I thoroughly enjoyed this film in 3D (it's not overly done or contrived for 3D - the story still drives everything). There is a particular scene where we go through the universe (visually) into the ocean from the Tiger to Pi and it truly was one of the most cinematic moments I've ever seen. Just beautiful. Highly recommend seeing it in 3D in the theaters! Expand
  14. Nov 28, 2012
    10
    Can not wait to see what to see what marvelous director Ang Lee offered to hungry worldwide public.The book is masterpiece,you just travel through the pages,squeezing each as you just learned to read.I'm starving,let's have masterpiece for dinner!
  15. Nov 28, 2012
    10
    This is a stunning film in two ways. As a cinematic tour de force, the computer generated work is remarkable. As human drama and narrative art, it boasts a superb performance by a young unknown actor, and tells a story of survival which can be read in two ways--for the second way, you must maintain attention to the very end. You will be rewarded.
  16. Nov 28, 2012
    9
    Great movie, great visual effects, great story with a twist at the end, but even during the movie. Keeps you interested all through the movie and many emotions arise from different scenes. The story progresses and makes you think about the human nature and animal instincts, and gives hope in different situations. A+
  17. Nov 27, 2012
    9
    Life of Pi was great and even better in 3D, definitely worth the trip. I had to read the book for college literature class, The movie follows the book in near every manner. The only differences I saw other than being more interesting and easy to get in to than the book was. Is the story is told to a reporter in Pi's home verses a coffee shop. And there was no blind man/survivor. Go see it!
  18. Nov 27, 2012
    10
    Ang Lee is a genius who can reach the kernel of every culture he has ever touched. By making "Sense and Sensibility" he convinced the Brits that he has an English heart. By making "Broken back mountain" he convinced the cowboys that he has an American mind. So far all Indians I have met say that they don't see any obtrusive and alien in this "Life of Pi" movie. It's just like a movie made by a native Indian director. (I'll skip all the Chinese movies Ang Lee has ever made, because he was born as a Chinese). In addition, even when we talk about technical parts instead of the culture parts, James Cameron, the 3D movie maestro, has given fully positive comments to Ang Lee's first 3D movie. So far nobody on the earth except Ang Lee can cover such a wide spectrum in his/her film-making experience. Looks like it is not very controversial to claim that Ang Lee is the No.1 versatile film-maker in the world.

    Well, now I have to talk about a hidden truth in this "Life of Pi" movie. The movie is actually an artistic film-making practice which depicts the 1st story told by Pi Patel with imagination and fantasies he had to fabricate during his unbearable sea drift. Underneath this surface story, the 2nd story with cannibalism should be the truth: there were 4 people on the boat, the uncouth cook (corresponding to the hyena in Pi's fantasy), the nice sailor (corresponding to the zebra in the fantasy version), Pi's mother (corresponding to the orangutan in the fantasy version) and Pi (corresponding to the tiger in the fantasy version). The Pi person in the fantasy version (the 1st story) corresponds to the incarnation of Pi's faith. The entire sea drifting experience (after the other 3 people died) was a struggle between Pi's animal side and Pi's faithful side. Once the boat landed on Mexico seashore, Pi returns to the civilized world and his animal side goes away. Think about the fact: if the 1st story (the fantasy version) is true, then lots of the movie scripts are redundant and useless. It is hard to believe that a maestro like Ang Lee will commit such ostentatious mistakes.

    I typically rate A.O.Scott @ New York Times' movie review highly. But this time A.O.Scott fails to read Ang Lee's subtle messages embedded in the movie. He just fails to understand the story. What a disappointment!
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  19. Nov 26, 2012
    10
    This film was truly "movie magic". Some of the visuals are astounding, and you will constantly ask yourself "how did they do that?". The film is well written and acted, and the 3D is the best I have seen in a non-animated film. Do yourself a favor and see it on the biggest screen possible and definitely in 3D. It even has an unexpected twist ending that I wasn't expecting (I didn't read the book). This is the best film I have seen this year and I go to the movies a lot. Expand
  20. Nov 26, 2012
    10
    I like this movie so much. I watched the 2D, but I want to watch it again in 3D. You must see it once on the "BIG" screen. It's so beautiful in my eyes, in my mind, and in my heart. I also want to buy the DVD when it's released. Can't wait.
  21. Nov 26, 2012
    10
    I thought life of Pi was a very beautifully written script, and the characters did a magnificent job in acting and cinematography. Wonders how a movie can go from pure carnage to true trust and friendship in the boy and the meat eating ferocious tiger. The boy learned a lot from the tiger as well as the vicious animal from the boy. I also thought it was really sad when Pi lost his entire family in the shipwreck and the only thing that kept him going on strong was his true faith in God and the friendship of the Tiger Paco. I love this movie, because it teaches me so much about the cultures and daily lives of Asian Indians. The movie kept me so involved in the screen because it never losses it real meaning at what it want to take you at. I also saw by the giant well in the movie, because I thought it was all apart Pi's imagination and a real hallucination. The meerkats were such fascinated creatures as well and very clever little ones. The journey had taken Pi a very long mile away to a island where he had landed on with thousands of meerkats. He discovered that someone had already been on the island but didn't make it off, because the water carried a poisonous toxins at night had he saw marine life floating around dead. He also saw the tiger rushing back to the boat, because the animal had the instincts that the place wasn't saw and no real survival will sustain life there. Pi knew he had to make it out alive, so he can share his unbeliveable survival and friendship with Paco. I give this movie 5 stars in all Expand
  22. Nov 25, 2012
    10
    On top of the amazing special effects, breath-taking scenes, Life of Pi is also a thought-provoking, spiritual-inspiring, soul-touching film. This movie is not something like "what you see is what you get." It is not like the movie that we normally see and say "oh, yes, it's great" and then we forget all about it after a while. It's a movie that lingers in your mind and every time when you think back the movie, it moves you, touches your heart, gives you profound impact to your soul. It makes you think and wants to explore the deeper meaning of life. That's what makes humans different from animals because we think. If anyone cares about good movies, this one is a must-see film Expand
  23. Nov 25, 2012
    9
    My expectation of the movie was that the whole thing was going to take place on the boat we all see in the trailer and it would be a bit boring for the most part. What I got, and hopefully what everyone else got out of it, was a tremendous story and beautiful imagery. The story and emotion put into it was top notch, something I haven't seen in a long time, let alone this year. The 3D effects are alright, nothing to write home about, but they are there. The movie really thrives with emotion and all the actors involved we're great with portraying all the right emotions at the right time, making the movie as a whole powerful, meaningful and realistic. In the running for movie of the year, there's no doubt. Expand
  24. Nov 25, 2012
    9
    Life Of Pi has the best director, picture, cinematography, visual effects, production, actor, adapted screenplay,and music. The movie is just beautiful
  25. Nov 24, 2012
    9
    Certainly the most beautiful film of 2012 while not sacrificing emotional propulsion and riveting storytelling, 'Life of Pi' marks a successful voyage into 3D for director Ang Lee that is filled with awe and wonder. It faintly reminds me of another highly-visceral, faith-based movie from 2011, 'The Tree of Life' and I'm glad to say that 'Pi' is the more accessible and enjoyable film. The colors pop, the tale is emotive and equal parts entertaining, the effects are seamless, and it features a roaring tiger by the name of Richard Parker. So, basically, it should please all audiences. I will admit, the film is stunted slightly by bits of occassional flimsy dialogue and an attention placed more on effect than religious contemplation. Otherwise, 'Life of Pi' is a jaw-dropping, life-affriming moviegoing experience that stands as one of the best films of the year, hands down. Expand
  26. Nov 24, 2012
    9
    My wife had read the book (twice, she told me after we saw the movie last night, and those who saw "Sixth Sense" will realize why) and insisted on seeing the movie, although I was somewhat less enthusiastic. I am terribly leery of movies produced for critical acclaim but are utterly either incomprehensible or boring for the average viewer. "The Tree Of Life" is the best example. I was fearful Pi was a similar genre. It was anything but. A beautifully filmed and acted movie, from beginning to end, with extraordinary, yet transparent and quite believable special effects. The twist at the end of the movie adds an entire new dimension and I will absolutely go see it again, with this new perspective. The second time will be in 3D, which the reviews suggest is better deployed than in "Avatar" which is the only 3D movie I have thoroughly enjoyed, where the 3D added to, rather than subtracted from, the viewing experience. Please do see this movie. Expand
  27. Nov 24, 2012
    9
    You've probably seen the incredible footage of a young man and a tiger trapped on a lifeboat. That' the crux of this magical, magnificent film brilliantly brought to the screen by Ang Lee. The philosophy-laden run up and the mystical follow up must be endured to get the whole story, but it's worth the effort. The struggle for survival is spellbinding and Lee has created some imagery that's astoundingly beautiful. Where the real animals end and the CGI begins is seamless. The 3D doesn't really add that much, but most theaters don't give many alternatives. Whether or not you appreciate the metaphysical aspects, Lee again demonstrates that he's one of the great modern masters of cinema. Expand
  28. Nov 23, 2012
    10
    I have not read the book. Therefore, I went into the theater not expecting anything. I came out stunned. What a beautiful film. It is a masterpiece and it is my favorite movie of the year so far. Life of Pi is visually breath-taking. It is definitely an adventure with much symbolism and you will leave the theater speechless. What a rewarding film. One of the most enjoyable experiences I have had at a theater for a long time. Ang Lee is a master. Spectacular! Expand
  29. Nov 22, 2012
    9
    This was my favorite movie so far this year. While it may not convince you that God does exists it certainly tells a riveting allegorical (or possible allegorical) tale of survival. The music and visuals are sublime and there are moments of real emotional turmoil through the film and exceptional moments of hope. It may not be for everyone but i was certainly willing to go along for the spiritual and philosophical ride. Expand
  30. Nov 21, 2012
    9
    Life of Pi and the Utility of Religion:

    It will be fascinating to hear the discussions about spirituality following the film Life of Pi, directed by Ang Lee and based on Yann Martel
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 44
  2. Negative: 0 out of 44
  1. Reviewed by: Olly Richards
    Dec 17, 2012
    100
    To produce a coherent film from Martel's tricky novel would be achievement enough, but Ang Lee has extracted something beautiful, wise and, at times, miraculous.
  2. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Nov 26, 2012
    90
    Life of Pi, at its best, celebrates the idiosyncratic wonders and dangers of raw, ravaging nature, and Lee wrings more than enough meaning from the excitement of that spectacle; we need nothing higher. [26 Nov.2012, p.86]
  3. Reviewed by: Matt Mueller
    Nov 25, 2012
    100
    A riot of saturated colour and delirious imagination, Ang Lee's adap radiates spirituality. But it's also a simple, thrilling and gently uplifting tale of a boy, a boat and a tiger. Take the plunge.