The Life of Pi – A movie reflection

As I was watching the movie I thought at the beginning that this would be a boring movie. The movie centered on the life of the character Pi. Later I realized that the adventure that Pi went through can be related to some of us. Some say those events that Pi went through where just manifestation of his delusional state because he was a shipwreck cast away. Alone in the middle of the sea with only a Tiger to accompany him, trying to fight for survival, its amazing to think how the hell could he have survived. But there’s an metaphor to some of the things that happened to Pi. There are also truths and some lessons to learn from the movie and from the characters. I would like to share some of the insights I have realized. (Watch the movie first before reading)

1. Losing loved ones.

Along the journey, the family of Pi had to transfer to the US, and while on the sea traveling they we’re caught by a big storm that in short ended up killing them except for Pi.

In life we will eventually loose the people dear to us and that is a FACT. Friends will be separated and even we will be separated to our own families. We can never tell when we will die and there is no permanent thing in this planet. Part of loosing those people close to us is the feeling of sadness and pain but it’s part of life. We just have to accept it. And as for Pi he had to loose it all, from leaving behind the life he had back in his hometown to tragically loosing his family.

2. Survival and Suffering

Pi was alone in the boat with, at first, with some animals, then lastly with Richard Parker.

Why this unusual set? Eventually due to the need to eat the animals killed each other. Pi also needed to eat so throughout the scene in the ocean, we see Pi trying to survive by eating biscuits and the canned water. Eventually he had to learn to fish, eat the fish raw and drink water from rain. He also must refrain himself from getting eaten by the tiger.

We also see how Pi had to suffer. Extreme suffering of being alone, with fear of the unknown, of the scorching heat and the terrible storms. A commentator said, “I cannot ignore the vegetarian vs. the meat-eating scenes. Pi was forced to betray his religion in order to survive.

As human being, we somehow have to survive in this earth and along the course of our life we have encountered or will be encountering sufferings that we may not explain but we must go through in order for us to learn because life is all about learning. Without continuous learning we are going to be stagnant and like a zombie, more or less dead.

3. God and Religion

We can see in the movie that the subject on religion and faith was also briefly portrayed. Pi referred himself as A Catholic Hindu-Muslim Christian or something like that. The point here is that he had faith on a Higher Being, a single God of the universe. He believed in the Savior King and even requested to be baptized. For me it’s not about the religion, it’s about your personal relationship with God, and it will manifest in your life. Not about just pure knowledge but the your application in life of the truths you have learned. Just like Pi, we will all be tested with our faith through the toughest things in life and when you think you can’t do it anymore, think of what Pi went through or Job in the Bible went through and surely your own sufferings can’t be compared to them.

As Ben Kendrick said, “Evidenced by his multi-religion background, Pi does not believe that any of the world’s religions are a one-stop shop for the truth of God – and his goal is not to convert anyone to a specific dogma. Instead, his story is set up to help viewers/readers consider which version of the world they prefer – the one where we make our own way and suffer through the darkness via self-determination, or the one where we are aided by something greater than ourselves (regardless of which version of “God” we may accept).

4. The peculiar relationship of Pi and the Tiger

Very interesting match-up and choice of characters by the author. Why a tiger of all animals? We could put it that because the tiger is strong and has great survival instincts. Pi was human so he can think, for sure. Pi was partnered with a Tiger so both of them can compliment each other in surviving. And of course its better to have a company in a boat in the middle of the sea rather than being alone, it’ll drive you nuts.

The tiger had grown into Pi and you can see that Pi cared and loved Richard Parker. The Tiger had to respect that because they can’t fight every time. So they managed to get along for some time.

People would love to have a happy ending. You could easily conclude that Pi and the Tiger would be friends but on the contrary when they finally reached the shore, the Tiger left Pi. Viewers are left to wonder why.

For me, as I see it, the Tiger had the choice to stay or leave. But he left. Pi loved/cared for Richard Parker, that’s how he believed. But the Tiger was being a tiger. You can see later in the movie the Adult Pi had a tear in his eyes.

There’s something to point out here, Pi said: Animals have souls. I have seen it in their eyes. But his father said, “what you see in the eyes of the tiger, is your own reflection“. What does this mean? True that animals have souls and they will only reflect what you want it to reflect. Pi had a good soul but it doesn’t deny the fact that the Tiger is a killer. Parker could have killed Pi but since Pi had shown love and took care of Parker, Parker in gratitude just took of, went to the jungle, and never to be seen again.

In life, we have the choice to stay or leave too. People and maybe our pets will leave us, it can be sad, painful and leave us wondering why but these do happen. Humans have souls too and they reflect what the people around them portray. Again take note that life is a continuous journey and each human being has his own path to take and the choices we make makes all the difference.

5. The art of letting go.

I think Pi fairly explained it what this means.  “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.

Life has something to do with letting go. Why? because that’s how God wants us to learn. It’s all about Him. You remember the teaching that anything that we love more than God is idolatry? exactly. He wants us to learn that we can’t depend on people or things too much but only on Him. There is also another truth to that whatever is given to you, you much take care of it, whether people, animals or things because that’s just how it is.

There is one point in the movie which Pi is recalling the day where he bade his farewell to her girl friend with the statement: I can remember all other things in that day, but I can’t remember I said goodbye to her. Maybe it was because he didn’t even really say goodbye to her. Which he is bothered by. And apparently, it had been a lesson he’s learned since seeing Richard Parker leave. He realized how important saying goodbye and moving on really is. To give love. To let go. And to say goodbye when you have to.

6. “Above all, do not lose hope”

I remember Pi keep telling to not loose hope. He should not. And you should not. In his case, he should hope because otherwise he could not survived. He had to believed in God (in a Super Being if you don’t believe in God, a god) otherwise how could he go on? He could choose to whine and curse about his situation and choose to kill himself but what’s the point and where’s the lesson on that?

These days people have come so restless. They depended themselves on a false hope. False hope of instant gratification and pleasure. You can’t blame some of them, the world is a deceiver. It all goes down to the truths that you believe in and in your foundation.

The movie is a fantastic revelation. Profoundly moving. Not to mention the cinematography is awesome!

Whether you believe in God or not, whatever religion you have, put in mind that this is a fiction movie from a fiction book. The interesting part is how the story went and how you and I as a viewer would accept the movie. Like the Ben Kendrick said:

The real question is – which story do you, the viewer/reader prefer? Interpretation is subjective but the question is intended to serve as a moment of theological reflection. Are you a person that prefers to believe in things that always make sense/things that you can see? Or are you a person that prefers to believe in miracles/take things on faith? There are no right or wrong answers – just an opportunity for introspection.

More of his insights in his blog. Check it out.

So what truth do you believe in?


Would love to here your comments about the movie too. Just right them below! 🙂


Posted on February 1, 2013, in Life's Like That, Movie/TV Series, outside the box and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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