Saturday, December 13, 2014

Life of Pi Review

"He said you had a story that would make me believe in God."

I have no idea whether a God exists. I have no evidence to either prove or disprove the possibility of a benevolent force whose guiding hand plays a role in the events of humanity, and I am a man who needs that evidence in order to truly believe. I never mean to disrespect either side of the aisle, as anyone is entitled to find comfort in their faith in a higher power or disregard faith entirely as a fallacy, but I simply cannot head down either path without proof.

When I say things like evidence or proof, I don't even necessarily mean indisputable mathematics or scientific fact that practically reveals either a God or a absence of one in front of my very eyes. I don't have such things to hammer out the absolute existence of love, but I know it is real because I can feel it in every fiber of my being. If someone asks me what love is, how would I verbally describe it? I'm not sure I could to be honest, but no one can tell me it doesn't exist because I know the way I feel when I come home every day and see my wife and daughter. I know that I love them because they made me realize that the delicacy of my own life, the importance of my own safety are no longer what keeps me up at night. I know that I love them because I would step out in front of traffic right now if it guaranteed they would be okay.

Is it similar to believe in and to love a God? I would assume so, but I just do not feel it. At least I normally do not feel it, but every so often a moment in reality or a piece of art captures my attention in a way that fills me with a warmth that is indescribable, like perhaps existence is bigger than you and I, perhaps the meaning of our lives extends beyond what our minds are able to understand. I know it sounds silly or hyperbolic, but I sometimes find this warmth in really special and uniquely beautiful works of cinema. The film Life of Pi by Ang Lee is one of those films.

The story of Pi and his journey across the Pacific Ocean, just a 16 year old boy on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, is one I connected to very quickly and on a deep level the first time I saw this film, and nothing has changed as I viewed it for roughly the third or fourth time today. The storytelling is profound on multiple levels, as I feel true heartbreak for the loss Pi goes through. I feel true joy for the small victories he experiences along the way. The two main characters, one a human being and the other an animal, share a level of chemistry on screen that most films are unable to establish between two people both speaking dialogue. What Ang Lee achieved here is truly remarkable, as a story is promised that would make me believe in God, and at least during the two hour journey this film takes me on, I do.

When the film ends, you can either choose to believe the rather unbelievable story told by Pi throughout or you may prefer to side with logic and reason and the more grounded and realistic version of events.

I may not always feel the existence of a God, but I believe in Pi.



  1. Beautifully written review. And I agree - this is how I felt when I watched the movie as well.

  2. Thank you so much Anna, I really appreciate it. Glad to hear I am not alone with this experience, and thank you for reading.