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Generally favorable reviews- based on 627 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 55 out of 627

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  1. Jan 7, 2013
    Life of Pi might well be the most beautiful picture of this year. Ang Lee effectively uses 3D to tell a story that most people consider impossible to put on film. It works, and it looks amazing. My only complain is, that looking for the films substance, I am grabbing thin air. Life of Pi is a amazing adventure, but as a spiritual journey it fails to really touch me. Still, it's fantastic enough to recommend it generally. Expand
  2. Zal
    Jan 4, 2013
    This film blew me away. Everything from the culture to the spiritualism to the story of survival were told expertly. I think the best thing about this movie is that it's universal. It's a story about human nature told through the experiences of an Indian boy and a tiger lost at sea. I loved every single moment of this movie and I hope to see it again soon.
  3. Jan 4, 2013
    This film is without a doubt the most beautiful release of the past months, every still could pass as a work of art, perhaps due to Ang Lee's masterful manipulation of light to create atmosphere. Furthermore the production team have done a spectacular job ensuring that the (very impressive) special effects heighten the drama rather than distracting. This film is pulled off with precision.

    On the story side of things Life of Pi is a little on the over-sentimental side of things, and to an extent I also find the framed narrative bitty and excessive. (I would have preferred to stumble on the philosophical questions myself than have them shoved in my face! - also if the film had been linear I believe it would have had more direction?) But that is a minor complaint, and the action on the boat grips the viewer right to the dying moments. The acting is very convincing, especially seeing as the animals to whom Pi is supposed to be reacting are (exquisitely done) CGI, and obviously therefore weren't there during filming!
    A terrific job, and a must see film.
  4. Jan 4, 2013
    "Life of Pi" is a visually resplendent, emotionally prismatic and aptly constructed film that successfully carries the provocative conceptions from the novel it is based on. Brilliantly acted and simply beautiful, "Life of Pi" is the shining example of a successful novel- film adaptation. Richard Parker continues to philosophically challenge us in the most wonderful ways, allowing a film with multiple interpretations, something that one of the greatest directors, Nolan, would have been proud of. Expand
  5. Jan 2, 2013
    Academy Award winner Ang Lee's Life of Pi is a stunningly beautiful film. Supposedly an 'unfilmable' novel, Yann Martel's book gives Lee ample opportunity for great visual imagery, an opportunity Lee and cinematographer Claudio Miranda grab with both hands. Whether its shots of Pi's boat floating adrift on a sunrise-reflecting ocean, of an island inhabited by a thousands of meerkats or of close-ups of the tiger, the visuals are unrivalled. Lee dedicates enough time either side of Pi's incredible journey, with an adult Pi narrating his story to a writer (Rafe Spall), to give meaning to Pi's emotional ordeal. Although perhaps because of the nature of live action, in particular with facial expressions of the actors, some of the ending's ambiguity may have been lost in translation to the big screen.

    Newcomer Suraj Sharma gives a fantastic performance as Pi, playing the role against a fully CGI tiger in what must have been a difficult filming environment. The other true star of the film is Richard Parker the tiger, the special effects for which really are outstanding.

    In not staying true to the book, I was slightly disappointed that the writers felt the need to give Pi a love interest at the film's start, I don't feel that this added anything to Pi's character or to the story once the family set sail. Did the writers didn't want anyone to think he was gay or something?! Anyway, I also felt that Pi's gradual blindness from dehydration which for me was one of the most harrowing parts of the novel, could have been featured to add some more despair to Pi's journey, not that it needs more! However, my grumbles about how the film relates to the book count for little.

    I had incredibly high expectations for this film after reading the book and seeing the trailers and thankfully Lee's adaptation lived up to those. Life of Pi is a beautiful film of a boy's unbelievable journey and how he finds a home for it among his eclectic religious beliefs.

    Bring on the Oscar nominations.
  6. Dec 31, 2012
    I'll start off with the positive. The CGI in this movie was some of the best I've ever seen, with incredible stunning visuals. Other than that however, it had the feel of a made for t.v. special. The story was interesting at times, but I kept waiting for the movie to be brought to the next level, and it just never happened. I would say this movie is good for a rental (although the stunning visuals will not be as impressive on a small screen). I don't necessarily think this was a bad movie, but to be in the 8 plus category?? I give it a solid middle of the road 5. Expand
  7. Dec 30, 2012
    This movie makes me proud to be a 21st century movie-goer. Finally I see a film that has special effects which are used so appropriately and brilliantly. Of course, not only did the special effects make me love this film, but the adapted screenplay and cinematography did as well. No, I don't really believe that this film is a 10 out of 10. Perhaps it is more of an 8 out of 10. HOWEVER, compared to other films that have been released in recent years... it would definitely seem to be a 10 out of 10. I loved it!! Expand
  8. Lyn
    Dec 30, 2012
    Beautifully, brilliantly filmed, and I gave it an extra point for its faithfulness to the novel. At the same time, I felt that it was lacking in something ... heart, I think, perhaps because the young actor was not up to the huge task. Think of a young actor's tour de force -- say, Christian Bale in "Empire of the Sun." This fellow doesn't quite measure up to that.
  9. Dec 29, 2012
    Having read the book by Yann Martel and knowing that Ang Lee was at the helm, I was really looking forward to seeing Life of Pi. I thought the film would be visually stunning and an emotional roller coaster and truly expected it to be my film of the year 2012, an expectation encouraged by the brilliant trailer. Therefore, I was very disappointed to realise that the actual movie only partially delivered. The main problem is with the adaptation of the book which many people felt was un-filmable. The novel is good, not great, but it does present the boy's willingness to embrace all religions in a very entertaining way, sometimes almost comically. The first half of the film meanders from scene to scene giving us no reason to invest in his religious beliefs. Another problem, having read the book, is that the sequence involving the four animals in the lifeboat has been excised from the screenplay to spare us their gory and prolonged deaths. Whilst I'm exceedingly grateful for this on the one hand, it does tend to dilute what the book did so well in showing the true horror of survival. On the positive side the film has a great asset in its young actor, Suraj Sharma, and its visual effects. The storm sequences are the best in the film and Richard Parker, the Bengal Tiger, is a great creation. The cinematography too is, on occasion, quite beautiful. However, I am less sure about the 3D. It may have something to do with the cinema in which I saw the film, or just be due to the print under review, but I was constantly aware of a blurring of images on the periphery of scenes. This was not only annoying, but distracting. I had to check my glasses on numerous occasions and it became an issue as the film progressed. Overall Ang Lee does make a good stab at parts of the story, including a couple of emotional moments and when the boy and tiger are alone on the open sea, but it is a case of stabbing rather than sleight of hand. Expand
  10. Dec 29, 2012
    First off, it looks stunning; every shot has been meticulously worked out and executed with a high degree of skill and care. The VFX are quite amazing (I have to say for the record that I watched it in 2D). For me the film is in three parts, the story of Pi before he leaves India, the story on the ocean and the story when he makes it to land. It
  11. Dec 29, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. So, a young man, Pi, en route to Canada with his family and the remains of the zoo they have left behind in India, is shipwrecked along with a Bengal tiger. The focus of the movie is on Pi's manner of survival and
    his relationships with the vastness of the ocean and 'Richard Parker' - the tiger!

    This is a beautiful film - but in much the same way that an Attenborough documentary is beautiful. There are one or two spectacular effects which justify the use of 3D. But I'm not a fan of 3D and rather than increasing the feeling of involvement, I find it has a distancing effect, particularly when watching ordinary scenes of conversation between Pi and the writer, or Pi's family round the dinner table. The added perspectives seem artificial. Add to that the fact that you know from the beginning that he is rescued and the dramatic potential of the story was, for me, diminished. Whilst this meant that you could concentrate on his relationship with the tiger without distraction, it left me by the end wondering whether what I'd been watching had much meaning. The 'twist' in the tale seemed rather an afterthought, as did the notion that the whole movie had been some kind of allegory. Pi's question to the writer at the end - "Which story do you prefer?" - seemed to carry insufficient weight for it to be the heart of the film. Although I enjoyed it, I nevertheless felt somewhat underwhelmed by it.
  12. Dec 28, 2012
    Perfectly adapted. I read the book back in the day and recommended it highly to friends and family. Actually really enjoyed the 3D version. I thought it was beautifully adapted and carried the spirit of the book to the screen which I highly doubted entering the theater. Understandable that some people would not like it. It is not a flash bang picture. It is a journey to the heart of man and you have to be in the mood to take that journey. Expand
  13. Dec 28, 2012
    This isn't your average movie. This movie isn't something I normally would go Watch. That is why I just needed to share my experience with all of you, so you also can go and Watch this great movie and experience something new. The movie starts out a bit slow and I wished that I had never put my foot in that Cinema at the begging. As the movie progressed I got more and more excited about how Pi develops on his amazing journey for the most precious thing that he owns - his life, even though he struggles to do so. The movie moved me so much emotionally that I almost dropped a tear (I know, I know, not very Manly). The Visuals are also worth mentioning, everything feels vibrant, alive and real. IF you're a blood hungering action fan or a comedy fan WHO loves to laugh then you should still go see this masterpiece. I'm giving this the highest rating because how it made me feel, it made me feel that life is the greatest thing we have been given and we should remember that, when we're feeling that life giving us a hard time. Expand
  14. Dec 28, 2012
    What an incredible film. From the direction to the acting to the other worldly visual effects, cinematography. From start to finish i was memorized by the this movie. All ages can see and be effected by what is put on the screen. Life of Pi is my favourite film of 2012.
  15. Dec 28, 2012
    A fantastic film. See it for yourselves and go with an open mind, especially if you have not read the book. In my opinion this is one of the best films I have been lucky enough to see at a cinema, it has been given some unfair reviews on this website and anyone who cannot see the visual beauty of this film is ignorant. Added to that, the story and the questions that are asked are quite brilliant. A must see film. Expand
  16. Dec 27, 2012
    Ang Lee's direction is at his most ambitious with this visual dazzlement and a striking narrative of life at it's most explicitness and peculiar. The photography of the film is delightfully gorgeous, however, its gargantuan ending is slightly disappointing.
  17. Dec 24, 2012
    The movie dragged a bit, but the cinematography was absolutely amazing. But I kept waiting for someone, anyone, to find them. The scene on the island was cool. I think the script should have simply eliminated the part with the book writer and Pi. It dragged the film down. It would be interesting to see the film with those scenes removed. I think it would have worked much better.
  18. Dec 24, 2012
    A brilliant story line that had me gripped throughout the whole film. It's mix of intellect and adventure made the movie a must-see. The movie was timed perfectly, without getting tiresome but at the same time without making you bored. I'd recommend it , any day.
  19. Dec 23, 2012
    Beautiful story and visual effects, impressive animal-human realistic approach, and also a nice ode to life. A real stunning piece of cinematography. But it doesn't go deep and it doesn't deliver the God story it promises, neither rationally nor emotionally. In fact, it has a surprising weak approach to that, trying to be unifying but using totally effete/expired God concepts. In this matter, Avatar goes deeper without even trying to define God. Expand
  20. Dec 18, 2012
    The most beautiful film, especially because the treatment on the story and the image is so delicate, it's a jewel and a metaphoric journey. Ang lee leads us into a dream and dangerous world. The film remind us the price of the life, animal or human . Thanks for putting Pi and Richard Parker on the screen It's was a marvelous gift for this end of the year.
  21. Dec 17, 2012
    In a rare matrimony of visual triumph and mythical storytelling, Life of Pi is a fantastic allegory of faith and struggle for life. Stories of beasts and men have intrigued people for years, admittedly the possibility of a man surviving a shipwreck with a Bengali Tiger is romantically over the top. While it's not exactly the colorful journey underneath, Life of Pi never becomes dark or brooding despite its heavy content. It's brilliantly told with simplicity, comedy and accessibility.

    It starts lightheartedly as adult Piscine Molitor Patel (Irfan Khan) retells his journey to a novelist. The adult Piscine is a great narrator, telling the story in his own pace and nonjudgmental feel. The topic of religion is a sensitive one, it's an accomplishment that the story not only presentable to large audience, it's also comedically inviting without undermining its values. A journey to find faith is universal, albeit the paths might differ, the series of tribulations Piscine has to endure is metaphor for the bumps in the road. At some points, doubt sets in and he admits his unknowingness, which is highly relatable.

    Graphically, in case you haven't seen the trailer, Life of Pi is astonishing. Using technological progress not only as gimmick, but also as an actual appeal. Colors are plenty and they are not invasive, it seems the scenes change so naturally, it's like seeing sunset and sunrise fast-forwarded. Details of the animals, especially the tiger, are very attentive. The shots are edited well, sometimes even continuously done. Ang Lee managed to give a sense of desperation from the smallness of man in contrast to the near endless realm around him.

    Credit goes to the young Piscine (Suraj Sharma) as he's the one who actually got cast away in the middle of the sea. Since the bulk of the movie is him alone, he has a heavy task to make it entertaining and believable. He does deliver a great performance against the artificial beast and screen effect. One of the things which might be unpalatable for some is the use of faith and religions. I personally think it uses faith as a medium of storytelling, a mature and modern interpretation of faith without imposing one specifically. The movie doesn't force audience its beliefs, it merely retells them like a poet from bedtime story, eloquently and elegantly. It makes the audience thinks, but leaves the decision in a private manner. Life of Pi is a rare beautiful use of 3D and an incredibly told story, which would be a shame to miss.
  22. Dec 16, 2012
    Thiz is a simple movie with stunning visual portrayal of a spiritual journey. It starts like Tim Burton BIG FISH (2003) where everything is odd and magical, steps like Danny Boyle SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (2008) with its compelling flashback in storytelling and it feels like Tom Hank CAST AWAY (2000), only thiz time the survivor is not accompanied by Wilson the volleyball, but with something called Richard Parker. It is a courageous adventure story about a young boy named Piscine (Suraj Sharma), who unfortunately lost all his family in sinking ship. His survival effort along with all the animals, especially with a ferocious Bengal tiger, brings him to an understanding of life as a whole. The newcomer Suraj Sharma delivers a sufficient performance to describe a boy who has to survive nature. Adil Hussain and Tabu make brief but memorable appearances as Pi father and mother. On the other hand, I think that Irrfan Khan could have been better as Adult Pi. His central role as the storyteller is just enough, not extraordinary, not even close, compared to Gloria Stuart as Old Rose in TITANIC (1997). Ang Lee who is formerly known as the Director of CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (2000), HULK (2003) and the controversial drama BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (2005), wrapping thiz movie with astonishing visual treat. The Storm Scene is one of the remarkable moments in thiz movie. I bet you wont get thiz experience before in any other movies. Thiz is something that you have never seen before, followed by other scenes like The Giant Whale Scene, The Flying Fish Scene and my favorite The Exotic Meerkat Island. I think thiz movie has lots of powerful philosophies all over the place. It was like metaphor in metaphor, there comes a point in everyone life, thiz will be something that needs to be thought about. It was emotionally gratifying. Actually, the movie is not just about survival, it was not even about the sinking ship, and it was definitely not about the tiger. It was simply about your relationship with God. In the end, we know very well. In every spiritual journey, your greatest enemy is none other than yourself.

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  23. BKM
    Dec 16, 2012
    Ang Lee's visually dazzling film is so effective because it can be enjoyed on various levels. It's an engrossing survival story, an eye popping parable and an examination of faith, fate, God and the connections between man, nature, life and death. It runs a bit too long and doesn't evoke as strong an emotional response as it could have given the subject matter, but it's still an engrossing and beautiful film that chooses not to provide any clear cut answers. Expand
  24. Dec 16, 2012
    For me "Life of Pi" has been a unexpected surprise. At first I didn't want to go to the cinema to see it but I don't regret it.
    Technically all of us agree to the point that is brilliant and magnificent and, on the other hand that the story maybe has some holes, but who cares? Let's enjoy the film and stop be so meticulous.
  25. Dec 15, 2012
    It was an out-standing movie! It is now my favorite movie of all time which before today was "The Grey". I encourage everyone to see this movie, unless you hate suspense.
  26. Dec 15, 2012
    Life of Pi, is one of the best films to be released in many years. The story and visuals are beautiful, I shed a few tears and left the theatre touched and moved. There are very few movies made these days with true heart and soul. Life of Pi is a rare gem and it is worth seeing on the big screen. The 3d was tastefully done and enhanced many of the films visual moments. The music, acting and writing was all spot on. To be honest I really did not want to see this film after I had seen the trailer. I think this film was very hard to market and the trailer was horrible. Thankfully the film is nothing like the trailer. The film is incredible. See it for yourself and prepare to be moved. Expand
  27. Dec 13, 2012
    What Lee brings to the screen here is nothing short of visual brilliance- Life of Pi takes you on a sort of magic carpet ride created by brilliant imagineers. But this magical adventure did mis the
  28. Dec 12, 2012
    Even if this movie starts really slowly, the main story is awesome. It does what only a few recent movies does: it teaches us a lesson about life and friendship. It's great to see a movie that isn't trying to lean towards the action genre for once! I recommend it!
  29. Dec 11, 2012
    Visually stunning, amazing story
  30. Dec 9, 2012
    This is a movie that is trying way too hard. While trying to be completely inclusive in talking about religion as a christian I feel that it alienates everyone. Our protagonist is instantly drawn to each new faith he comes upon, while we are given very little reason as to why he does. The acting during the book ends of this movie is pretty poor, and the script is sub par. The middle third of the movie is the strong point, and also where the movie excels visually. I was impressed with the way that they built Pi and Richard Parker's relationship. I expected Pi to be cuddling with his tiger moments after being stranded alone on the boat with him. Instead there are many moments of dread and even after one moment where he can touch Richard Parker he still respects him as a wild animal at the end of their journey. The second bookend has as many problems as the first, and the emotional punch that they are trying to achieve at the final reveal is neither earned or evokes much emotion. Overall this is a rather mediocre film. Expand

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
    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
    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
    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.