Generally favorable reviews - based on 44 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 652 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , , , ,
  • Summary: Based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel, is a magical adventure story centering on Pi Patel, the precocious son of a zookeeper. Dwellers in Pondicherry, India, the family decides to move to Canada, hitching a ride on a huge freighter. After a shipwreck, Pi is found adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a 26-foot lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, all fighting for survival. Expand
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. 100
    Pi has designed his own terrarium to keep from staring directly into the abyss. It's not denial. It's faith in something else: the transformative power of storytelling. The film is transcendent.
  3. Reviewed by: Rodrigo Perez
    Sep 28, 2012
    Deeply resonant and soulful, Life Of Pi, is a harrowing journey of survival, self-discovery and connection that both inspires and awes in equal measure.
  4. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Nov 21, 2012
    The result is a movie built upon big ideas -- and timely ones, too, delivering a message of understanding in this frustrating age of great intolerance -- but also a great story and, thanks to Lee, a wonderfully satisfying cinematic journey.
  5. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Nov 23, 2012
    It proves the power of a good story, both to entertain us and to allow us to process unpleasant truths.
  6. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Nov 20, 2012
    Life of Pi is spellbinding while it lasts. Lee's film can be appreciated as many things -- a post-Darwinian meditation on coexistence as the key to survival, a reflection on the spiritual nature of suffering and transcendence, a beguiling bait-and-switch on the vagaries of belief itself.
  7. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Nov 20, 2012
    Life of Pi manages occasional spiritual wonder through its 3-D visuals but otherwise sinks like a stone.

See all 44 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 13 out of 162
  1. Nov 29, 2012
    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
  2. Sep 23, 2013
    Pi tries to explain his name early on as a child, deciding full name given my his parents was more of a hindrance than anything else, these early moments outline a normal child in a normal situation, but this miraculous film finds its stride as Pi and his family must take sail from India to Canada to set up their failing zoo, this alone sets up a decent tone for the film but natural causes come about when a massive storm throws everything into chaos as Pi ends up stranded on a lifeboat with an unforgiving tiger. The film opens in a colourful fashion with bright things and wonderful visuals, a film this good-looking hasn't been around since Avatar and these visuals are truly masterful, there is nothing quite like the spectacle when Pi, played for most of the film by Suraj Sharma, is attempting to survive on sea, witnessing many creatures of the deep while also keeping an eye on his fellow survivor, but survive being the most important part, the sea can be harsh, but a tiger whose only wish is to eat you can be so much deadlier. Director Ang Lee tells a lifelong story as an older Pi (Irrfan Khan) depicts his adventures, he does this in such poetic and beautiful fashion, showing an uneasy but necessary partnership between man and animal but still showing that animals can truly be unforgiving. Much of the film is Pi's attempt to train the tiger, named Richard Parker, their co-existence proving vital as the film unfolds. The film takes much of its spectacle from a study of faith, as we learn that Pi is intrigued by the various forms that a spiritual being may take, he often speaks to God, and also accepts that his life may soon be coming to an end. Miraculous occurrences and anomalies could suggest he may indeed be playing a part, some of the scenes where Pi shouts to the sky are quite breathtaking.
    The winning formula of the film not only comes from the spectacular fantasy of the visuals, but from a very touching, tragic and a moving piece of colourful mastery that combines two unlikely companions while also dealing with many lifelong issues that Pi faces in a short space of time, he must overcome these insecurities if he wants to survive. It's quite a dream and quite an adventure, with an ending that questions what exactly is true and what isn't, it's left up to the viewer, pave it out for yourself, a magnificent achievement and a landmark in storytelling and visuals. Not only one of the best looking films of the last few years, but a story that couldn't be told better or in a more colourful fashion.
  3. Jan 9, 2013
    This movie is extraordinary. The effects, the plot, the acting, the drama, the humor, "the everything" is perfect. To put this book on the big screen is a difficult task but Ang Lee tried and he succeeded. I recommend this movie to every living soul out there! Expand
  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. Mar 23, 2013
    There was a time before this movie where i thought my greatest fear was falling off of a building; as it turns out i am more afraid of being in the middle of the ocean with a tiger. This movie was intense and i left it stressed out. Yes it was good but i'll never see it again. Expand
  6. 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
  7. May 25, 2014
    Before I decided to watch this movie I was extremely concerned that the plot involving a tiger in a small boat with a person in the ocean seemed extremely ludicrous, moronic and cartoonish! But my wife wanted to watch it so I overcame my opinion of the plot and decided to give the movie a chance in my viewpoint!
    After reaching the middle of the movie it took an immense amount of stamina to continue viewing a plot that most 7 year old children would find absurdly foolish. The incredibly slow stretch of this ambiguous story would put most adults to sleep half way through this movie! Also the character of the tiger was a bit more interesting than his human friend! If you have problems getting to sleep at night do not consider Lorazepam! Just begin this incredibly mind numbing movie and your mind will crash into a marvelous state of rest. This movie was nothing but indistinguishable language and complete abandonment of thought process because no brain matter has to be used to follow a plotless movie!

See all 162 User Reviews


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