Rated: PG

Distributed By:

20th Century Fox

Directed by:

Ang Lee


Suraj Sharma as Pi Patel

Adapted From:

Plugged In Online

Life of Pi

After a terrible shipwreck, a young man named Pi is stuck on a lifeboat with a tiger. Each day becomes an adventure in survival: finding food (for two hungry mouths), catching rainwater and trying to reason with a beast that doesn’t speak.

But Pi never loses hope. He believes they float “in the cup of God's hand.” Perhaps God will carry them home.

Life of Pi is a story of incredible faith. At the beginning of his journey, Pi calls out, “God, I give myself to You. I am Your vessel. Whatever comes I want to know. Show me.” Pi’s devotion is sincere . . . but is it focused in the right direction? Pi’s version of “God” is a mashup of different religions. He grew up Hindu, then had a meaningful encounter with a Christian priest. (At one point, Pi thanks the Hindu god Vishnu for bringing Christ into his life.) He also enjoys the prayers of Islam. Pi’s father, who doesn’t believe in any religion, urges his son to put his faith in science and reason. Matthew 6:24 tells us that “no one can be a slave of two masters”—Pi appears to have dozens of masters.

The natural world is not a gentle place. We see (and hear) animals kill one another, either for food or protection. The special effects, so beautiful in other parts of the film, make these scenes even more intense. We also see the shipwreck, where many passengers die.

In an attempt to “mark his territory,” Pi urinates on part of the boat. The tiger, in response, sprays Pi with a urine blast of his own. Several animals get seasick.

Major spoiler alert: After Pi is rescued, he tells a skeptic a second version of the shipwreck story. In this version, there are no animals—only people, killing (and eating) each other out of desperation. The movie never tells us which version is true. But if you choose to believe the second story, then Pi’s faith takes on a different role: It is a shield, protecting him from a horrifying memory.

Life of Pi is both beautiful and ugly, profound and problematic. Without a proper anchor in Jesus, viewers might get lost in the swirling sea of pluralism (the belief that all religions are basically right, even though they disagree). When we accept Christ as Savior, we accept Him as our only Savior—and we accept Him not just because it "feels" right, but because it is historically, literally true.

That makes Pi a dangerous traveling companion for young viewers.

Copyright © 2012 by Focus on the Family. Used by permission. Clubhousemagazine.com