Movie Review: Life of Pi

Quite a procrastinator, that I am, thus this review is already more than a month long overdue ^,^


The Life of Pi. The moment I saw the preview of this movie I have decided to watch it, hectic schedule or not. For how could my interest not be piqued when I saw two creatures, from the opposing ends of the food chain, trying to survive together in a small life boat in the midst of a vast ocean? Intriguing and so fascinating, don’t you think?

The movie is an adaptation of a novel by Canadian author Yann Martel. It revolves around the life of an Indian boy named Piscine Molitor Patel aka Pi. At an early age, Pi became interested in faith, not so much in religion. He was introduced by his mother to Hinduism and to its many deities. At bedtime, he liked hearing stories about Krishna and Vishnu instead of the usual children stories.

Then during a family visit in one of the Indian provinces, his older brother – Ravi, challenged him to drink the holy water, which led him to learning about Christ and the Hindu Catholics. Pi was so intrigued about Jesus – the Son of God in flesh. He had so many questions about Him. There were two questions that stood so eloquently in my memory: ‘Why would a god suffer and taint himself of death? Why is Christ so human?’ Pi was too young to grasp the concept of Christ’s sacrifice but his heart was open. He embraced Christ wholeheartedly and even thanked Vishnu for introducing him to Christ.

But even after two notable faiths, Pi’s heart was still open. He learned about Islam and was enthralled by the Muslims’ way of worship – the way they devoted themselves to Allah.

It was fascinating and funny to see someone his age so eager in practicing all three beliefs. There was a scene that after worshipping Allah, he was called to dinner and before he began eating, he said his graces and did the sign of the cross which made his father lecture him about religion. For the old Patel, religion is an obscurity that would mislead those who would blindly follow. He said that one should rely to his own understanding before trusting and resting his faith in a group who said otherwise.

But more to Pi’s fascination with faith was his liking to animals specifically Richard Parker – the Bengali Tiger. It was one of the animals in the zoo that Pi’s father owned. He thought that since it was caged from a very young age, he would be able to pet it. But his father rebuked him and showed him that the tiger was a beast and that no matter how much they cared for it, it would never find them as an equal or a friend.

Though the epic story began almost halfway into the movie, I find it relevant to tell you about Pi’s fascination with faith. I think it set his character. It helped him to survive and move on from a tragedy – one that was so difficult to overcome, if not forget. I believe his enormous faith, unbounded by religion, helped him remember those tragic 227 days in the ocean without going crazy.

I will not summarize anymore the 227 days when Pi fantastically lived in the midst of the ocean with Richard Parker. I think you need to see it for yourself. It is for you to see and experience that part of the story, not mine to tell you.

Pi’s story is one of a kind – a story of faith and survival. I always believe one can always decide whether to give up or not, to dwell in the past or to move forward. However, not everyone can do what Pi did especially in the circumstances that he had. One has to have a courageous heart like his and an enormous faith to let what happened to him to be an inspiration rather than a pity.

So, if you had seen the movie or have read the novel, which story do you prefer? Pi with Richard Parker and the floating bananas? Or, Pi and the tragedy he sealed in that elaborate story?


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