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Life of Pi (2012)

tomatometer

87

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Reviews Counted: 225
Fresh: 196 | Rotten: 29

A 3D adaptation of a supposedly "unfilmable" book, Ang Lee's Life of Pi achieves the near impossible -- it's an astonishing technical achievement that's also emotionally rewarding.

88

Average Rating: 8.2/10
Critic Reviews: 48
Fresh: 42 | Rotten: 6

A 3D adaptation of a supposedly "unfilmable" book, Ang Lee's Life of Pi achieves the near impossible -- it's an astonishing technical achievement that's also emotionally rewarding.

audience

84

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 164,606

My Rating

Movie Info

Director Ang Lee creates a groundbreaking movie event about a young man who survives a disaster at sea and is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an amazing and unexpected connection with another survivor...a fearsome Bengal tiger. -- (C) Official Site

PG,

Drama, Action & Adventure

David Magee, Yann Martel

Mar 12, 2013

$125.0M

20th Century Fox - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (225) | Top Critics (48) | Fresh (196) | Rotten (29) | DVD (6)

Veteran filmmakers will warn you, don't film at sea and don't work with animals. Ang Lee built a vast tank in Taiwan and he whips up awesome storms. [However,] watching the water here is more rewarding than watching the characters.

June 14, 2013 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Flawed, yes, but marvellously ambitious, and unforgettably gorgeous to look at.

December 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Lee's film is stronger as a visual experience-especially in 3-D-than an emotional one, but it has a final plot twist that may also change what you thought you knew about the ancient art of storytelling.

November 22, 2012 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's an audience out there for this movie, but the question is whether they will find it.

November 21, 2012 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie's energy peters out in a series of book-club conversations about divine will, the power of storytelling, and the resilience of the human spirit.

November 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Slate
Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A movie that can't be dismissed because there is too much in it but can't be embraced because it's all spread too thin.

November 21, 2012 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Among movies that are intended to be spiritually insightful, this is one of the most hollow and disappointing that I've seen, a surface-level rendering of platitudinous feel-good hooey.

July 27, 2013 Full Review Source: EricDSnider.com
EricDSnider.com

This movie is to be seen and experienced. It is not to be heard.

June 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Deadspin
Deadspin

Teenage acting newcomer Suraj Sharma, discovered through a casting call in India, gives Pi an earnestness and toughness that ground this elaborate story.

May 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Sacramento Bee
Sacramento Bee

The power of Life of Pi sneaks up on you, rather like the raw sadness of Lee's best-known previous prestige pic, Brokeback Mountain.

May 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Seven Days
Seven Days

Some of the most gorgeous 3D images this side of 'Avatar.'

May 13, 2013 Full Review Source: The Patriot Ledger
The Patriot Ledger

Everywhere you look there are images of beguiling beauty: a mirror-like sea reflecting golden clouds; a sudden swarm of flying fish; an island bristling with meerkats; and a breaching whale glowing with bioluminescence as it leaps out of the water.

April 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

Ang Lee's Life of Pi is a visual masterpiece, often transcending the boundaries of special effects and what they're capable of, but the film's actual story is hollow.

March 23, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

The search for religion takes a back seat to the spectacular visual splendor of a boy floating alone on the ocean with a vicious tiger.

March 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

"Life of Pi" isn't just a visual effects movie stuck at sea. There's a compelling story here as well.

March 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Endorses the notion of blind faith, and denial as a positive character trait.

February 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Mystical and endless as the number pi, 'The Life of Pi' works on a number of levels, all of them enchanting.

February 3, 2013 Full Review Source: KWQC-TV (Iowa)
KWQC-TV (Iowa)

Takes some time to find its flow. The CGI-tiger is the greatest marvel here-the intensity of its stare alone makes it the truest fiction of all. Religious platitudes remain fairly pat; the final allegory's overstated.

January 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

The morals of the story don't come through, while the film's extensive metaphors are belatedly rammed down your throat like a get out of jail free card.

January 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Fan The Fire
Fan The Fire

Ang Lee's extraordinary, lyrical, beautiful, moving, genre-defying Life of Pi can be recommended with the simple, sweeping assurance that it is unlike anything you have ever seen before.

January 16, 2013 Full Review Source: 3AW

A dazzling digital dreamscape that sets staggering new heights for what can be accomplished with 3D technology.

January 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Moviedex
Moviedex

Martel's novel could have yielded a greater film in different hands, but Lee's work remains one to be grateful for.

January 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Projection Booth
Projection Booth

(Ang) Lee has gone above and beyond, executing the job with near flawless precision.

January 9, 2013 Full Review Source: The Standard
The Standard

When adrift with Pi and the tiger on the open sea, the film is at its most wondrous: a ravishing spectacle that treads judiciously on the infinite line between what's possible and impossible.

January 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Life poses as a spiritual experience, but it's more like a postcard.

January 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Audience Reviews for Life of Pi

Beautiful... Just beautiful. Ang Lee brings to life one of my favorite books and does it with such passion and determination. This adaptation, thought to be "unfilmable", achieves wonders in 3D and visual effects, as well as emotional story telling and great time first performance by Suraj Sharma.
October 24, 2013
zach l.
zach letts

Super Reviewer

Honestly, I read the book long ago before I watch this movie and when I heard that 'Life of Pi' will be made into a movie my question were : how can a boring book turned into a movie that will drawn the audiences' attention? But after I heard a lot of positive reviews on this movie, I was tempted to watch this movie.. And after I spent almost 2 hours watching this movie, I must gave a big two thumbs up to Ang Lee for making a beautiful visualization of this novel.. Suraj Sharma also make a great and quite impressive performance for his Hollywood debut performance as Pi Patel.. Overall, the Oscars that this movie got shows us how great the quality of this movie had..
September 6, 2013
ajaymuthecooldevils
Sanjaya 丘耀文

Super Reviewer

An incredibly captivating story of the titular character, Pi, that ingeniously thrusts audiences so closely with the main message of the movie. I don't think any movie has questioned and talked to me in such a direct but powerful way like "Life of Pi" did.

At the heart of it, "Life of Pi" is a drama/survival flick. With a movie so grounded thematically, people quickly assume that this is an art-house film. I respond with a resounding no. "Life of Pi" is crafted with such cohesion; everything to the plot, actors, script, and cinematography mesh together to bring an entertaining but thoughtful piece of art. Let me tell you, the visuals are absolutely gorgeous. I still think best cinematography should've went to "Skyfall", but that doesn't make "Life of Pi" an ugly one though; the art direction and the colors truly pop off the screen here.

"Life of Pi" is, in my opinion, what should've taken the cake for best picture. Yeah, I enjoyed "Django Unchained" and "Skyfall" more, but as a whole, "Life of Pi" covers all the bases of what makes a real solid film.
July 29, 2013
Albert Kim

Super Reviewer

A great undertaking for director Ang Lee, this adaptation of the 2001 novel from Yann Martel asks about the entire world, but only gives murky answers. It speaks about religion or spirituality, and how a young man copes in the middle of the ocean with a Bengal tiger, shipwrecked for almost a year. He experiences the world of nature around him, finding himself broken and looking for his God, while also finding himself connecting to nature through his travels with Richard Parker, the tiger. Their relationship turns swiftly from one of bitter feud to a strange reliance and emotional dependency. What makes the film verge into adventure are the visuals, the use of animals, and Pi's desire to keep a record of their journeys. These all instill a fun and near family atmosphere to the film, but looking at the deeper meaning and message to the film, there's nothing truly adventurous about it. It's much more about how we believe the world is linear, and in reality it doesn't make any sense and life as we know it is fluid and uneven. The first twenty minutes are the most enjoyable, though they have nothing to do with the shipwreck, or Pi's time at sea. It tells about Pi's life, the person he becomes, his ties with his family, and how he copes with his world as a Hindu Christian. It's essential to the rest of the film, and once we get into the exposition of the sea, we lose some of that character to the CGI tiger and wave machine made ocean. This film is beautiful though, and that's the main reason people love it. It's colorful, lively, and has some scenes of real and computer generated nature that have you in awe. This film is probably best seen in 3D and it's a shame that I couldn't see it in theaters. The ending has a slight twist, though it's doubtful that you will find it distracting from what the film is trying to say. This is definitely a film that you have to pay attention to and experience with all your senses so that you can appreciate the ending better, and realize more about the character than what small amount of personality is shown onscreen.
July 16, 2013
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

    1. Adult Pi Patel: I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.
    – Submitted by Adam O (11 months ago)
    1. Adult Pi Patel: So which story do you prefer?
    2. Writer: The one with the tiger. That's the better story.
    3. Adult Pi Patel: Thank you. And so it goes with God.
    4. Writer: It's an amazing story.
    – Submitted by Adam O (11 months ago)
    1. Pi Patel: I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.
    – Submitted by Adam P (13 months ago)
    1. Santosh Patel: I much rather have you believe in something I don't agree with than to accept everything blindly, and that begins with thinking rationally.
    – Submitted by Adi P (14 months ago)
    1. Adult Pi Patel: When I thought God was indifferent about my sufferings, He was watching, and gave me rest.
    – Submitted by Alexandria P (15 months ago)
    1. Pi Patel: I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.
    – Submitted by Ioana P (15 months ago)
View all quotes (41)

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Foreign Titles

  • Life of Pi: Schiffbruch mit Tiger (DE)
  • L'Odyssée de Pi (FR)
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