‘Life of Pi’ Ending Explained

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 19th, 2014 at 10:25 am,

Life of Pi Ending Explained Life of Pi Ending Explained

Ang Lee’s Life of Pi is racking-up critical acclaim (read our review) and pre-award season buzz along with solid box office numbers. Though, for every mention of the film’s beautiful 3D or amazing CGI tiger, there’s a fuddled viewer confused by the movie’s controversial ending.

Readers of Yann Martel’s original novel (the ones who made it to the end) have already faced the challenging last-minute question presented by the story’s narrator, but filmgoers expecting a fanciful adventure at sea have been understandably caught off-guard by the finale. No doubt, viewers will debate the ending with friends and family – but to help steer discussion we’ve put together a brief analysis of the Life of Pi ending, explaining why the final question may not be as cut and dry as some moviegoers seem to think.

It goes without saying that the remainder of this article will contain MAJOR SPOILERS for Life of Pi – the movie and the book (especially the ending). If you do not want to be spoiled about either, turn away now.

Life of Pi Shipwreck Life of Pi Ending Explained

For anyone who hasn’t seen (or read) Life of Pi and isn’t concerned about having the ending spoiled, Pi’s adventure concludes in a Mexican hospital bed – where he is interviewed by a pair of Japanese Ministry of Transport officials. The agents tell Pi that his story – which includes multiple animal companions and a carnivorous island – is too unbelievable for them to report, so Pi tells them a different version of the story: one that paints a much darker and emotionally disturbing variation of events. After both stories have been shared, Pi leaves it up to the viewer (or reader) to decide which version they “prefer.”

Personal “preference” has larger thematic meaning, when viewed in the context of the overarching story; however, before we analyze the ending (via the question) in greater detail, we’re going to briefly lay out the two versions of Pi’s story.

In both accounts, Pi’s father contracts a Japanese ship to transport his family, along with a number of their zoo animals, from India to Canada in an effort to escape political upheaval in their native country. The stories are identical up until Pi climbs aboard the lifeboat (following the sinking of the cargo ship) only re-converging when he is rescued on the Mexican shore. The 227 days that Pi spends lost at sea are up for debate.

Life of Pi Richard Parker Life of Pi Ending Explained

The Animal Story

In this version of Pi’s tale, the cargo ship sinks and, during the ensuing chaos, he is joined on the lifeboat by a ragtag group of zoo animals that also managed to escape: an orangutan, a spotted hyena, a zebra with a broken leg, and a Bengal Tiger (named Richard Parker). After some time, Pi watches helplessly as the hyena kills the zebra and then the orangutan before it is, subsequently, dispatched by Richard Parker. Pi then sets about conditioning the tiger through rewarding behavior (food and fresh water), so that the two can co-exist in the boat. Though Pi succeeds, the pair remain on the verge of starvation – until, after several months at sea, they wash ashore an uncharted island packed with fresh vegetation and a bountiful meerkat population. Pi and Richard Parker stuff themselves, but soon discover that the island is home to a carnivorous algae that, when the tide arrives, turns the ground to an acidic trap. Pi realizes that eventually the island will consume them – so he stocks the lifeboat with greens and meerkats and the pair sets sail again. When the lifeboat makes landfall along the Mexican coast, Pi and Richard Parker are once again malnourished – as Pi collapses on the beach, he watches the Bengal Tiger disappear into the jungle without even glancing back.

Pi is brought to a hospital – where he tells the animal story to the Japanese officials. However, when the agents do not believe his tale, the young survivor tells a different version of his journey.

Life of Pi Suraj Sharma Boat Life of Pi Ending Explained

The Human Story

In this version of Pi’s tale the cargo ship still sinks, but instead of the ragtag group of animals in the lifeboat, Pi claims that he was joined by his mother (Gita), the ship’s despicable cook, and an injured Japanese sailor. After some time, fearing for the limited supplies in the boat, the cook kills the weakened Japanese sailor, and later, Gita. Scarred from watching his mother die in front of his eyes, Pi kills the cook in a moment of self-preservation (and revenge).

Pi does not mention his other adventures at sea (the carnivorous island, etc) but it’d be easy to strip away some of the fantastical elements in favor of more grounded (albeit allegorical) situations. Maybe he found an island but realized that living is more than just eating and existing – deciding to take his chances at sea instead of wasting away in apathy on a beach eating meerkats all alone. Of course, that is purely speculation – since, again, Pi does not elaborate on the more grounded human story beyond the revelation that he was alone on the lifeboat.

Life of Pi Whale Life of Pi Ending Explained

The Ending Explained

Even if the connection between the lifeboat parties was missed, the writer makes the connection for the audience (or readers): the hyena is the cook, the orangutan is Pi’s mother, the zebra is the sailor, and Richard Parker is Pi. However, the film’s juxtaposition of the animal story and the human story has led many moviegoers to view the last-minute plot point as a finite “twist” – which was not the original intention of Martel (with the book) or very likely Lee (with the film). Viewers have pointed to the look of anguish on Pi’s face during his telling of the human story in the film as “proof” that he was uncomfortable facing the true horror of his experience. However, the novel takes the scene in the opposite direction, with Pi expressing annoyance at the two men – criticizing them for wanting “a story they already know.” Either way, much like the ending of Inception (read our explanation of that ending), there is no “correct” answer – and Life of Pi intentionally leaves the question unanswered so that viewers (and readers) can make up their own mind.

Facing the final question, it can be easy to forget that, from the outset, The Writer character was promised a story that would make him believe in God. In the first part of the narrative, we see Pi struggling to reconcile the differences between faith interpretations (Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam) – acknowledging that each of them contained valuable elements, even if they tell different stories (elements that together help him survive his ordeal at sea regardless of whether or not he was there with a tiger).

As a result, the larger question is impossible to answer definitively and, as mentioned, the “truth” of Pi’s story is of little concern to Martel or Lee. 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.

Life of Pi Island Life of Pi Ending Explained

Pi is faced with a heavy challenge: telling a story that will make a person believe in God. Some listeners might remain unconvinced but in the case of The Writer, who openly admits that he prefers the story with the tiger, and the Japanese officials, who in their closing report remarked on the feat of “surviving 227 days at sea… especially with a tiger,” Pi successfully helps skeptics overcome one of the largest hurdles to faith – believing in the unbelievable.

Since Pi marries The Writer’s preference for the Tiger story with the line, “and so it goes with God,” it’s hard to separate the question entirely from theology. 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).

That said, aside from all the theological implications, and regardless of personal preference, it’s insular to view the ending as simply a dismissal of everything that Pi had previously described (and/or experienced) – since, in keeping with his view that every religious story has worthwhile parts, a third interpretation of the ending could be that the “truth” is a mix of both stories. Like Pi and his three-tiered faith routine, the viewer/reader can always pick and choose the parts that benefit their preferred version of the tale.

Life of Pi Suraj Sharma Life of Pi Ending Explained

The “truth”: Pi survived for 227 days at sea, married the girl of his dreams, had children, and lived to tell two stories.

Like any quality piece of entertainment, a lot of this is subjective and there are multiple ways of interpreting the Life of Pi ending, so feel free to (respectfully) share your interpretation with fellow moviegoers in the comment section below.

For an in-depth discussion of the film by the Screen Rant editors check out our Life of Pi episode of the SR Underground podcast.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on Life of Pi as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

Life of Pi is now playing in theaters everywhere. It is Rated PG for emotional thematic content throughout, and some scary action sequences and peril.

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2,794 Comments - Comments are closed.

  1. One thing I remember that seemed important was when he said to the writer “its your story now” I think he is also tell the viewer that as well so for me all the comments and ideas are true as long as you believe it to be its your story to tell now.
    Great film loved it :)

  2. I think most of you – no… pretty much all of you – are missing the point of the movie/book. The premise is stated early on: (to the writer) “Talk to this person and he will make you believe in God.” Pi’s two different versions of his story as described to the Japanese claims adjustors are the distinction between belief in God or not. It’s pretty obvious that the ‘characters’ on the boat were – in fact – human characters… and that Pi assigned them to animals for the telling of his tale. The human version was too horrific so he coped with it by defining them as animals.

    The story elements that lead to this conclusion are that – in the animal version – ‘Richard Parker’ (the tiger) never looks back upon leaving Pi. The allegorical point – God will be with you when you need him but once his work is done, he will go on about his business. In the narrative conversation, Pi asks the writer, “Which do you prefer?” The writer answers, “The one with the tiger.” Basically showing his preference for a non-empirical evidence version of Pi’s tale… but really, of the human species’ tale. So Pi’s use of the animals in telling the story is really just a way of presenting the idea of Faith to the writer.

    Which world would you want to live in… despite how unbelievable the story may be? ‘Live of Pi’ is a story about faith. Re-read/watch the movie or book in this context and it makes total sense.

  3. Book: awful I am told the movie is better; it HAS to be

  4. Once he’s in the lifeboat, things get very strange, as Pi becomes a less than convincing liar, and elaborates on the details of his relationship with Richard Parker. For 7 1/2 months Pi coexists with the tiger his father said could not be befriended….
    If it were a true story, and a man survived 227 days at sea, it would get a fair amount of publicity. Pi would have anticipated his having to recount the events…Why would someone need 2 stories in the first place? Why would anyone alter their story, or conceal facts…? Why did he have another version ready to go…?
    I think the movie was..”Pi’s elaborate lie”. The movie had a certian realism at the beginning and end, but becomes dramatically odd and fantastical when he’s in the lifeboat…In fact, I thought maybe Pi was dreaming, or unconscious, like the “Wizard of Oz” for instance. I was expecting Pi to wake up at the conclusion surrounded by his family, and realize he banged is head, fell overboard, or the like.

  5. everyone is saying about the look on Pi’s face when he was talking about the second story. What about when he was crying talking about the way the tiger never ended their friendship correctly. To me he seemed alot more troubled talking about that then the second story.

  6. Maybe someone should ask Yann…

    BTW, I loved this film!

  7. I would have given the movie a 8,1 rating. Thanks to the last 15 minutes of the movie I make it a 7,1 ….
    I think the ending doesn’t compare to inception, where there was still a feeling of ‘relieve’, where there was not such a feeling at all with Life of Pi, thanks to the ending.
    Still a good movie though.

  8. I’m from Ghana west africa..I was quiet skeptical about watching the movie at first and was confussed @ the final end..but you guys did a great job explaining it..thanx

  9. Looks like the existentialist’s two storied truth building–lower level, “true truth” (the main floor and real), and the upper level “faith truth”. It’s not real but the individual believes it to make it reality and lives in light of it. Maybe I’m wrong, but it looks like garden-variety religious existentialism–God as someone to hold onto because I have committed myself to Him being real.

    • Excellent John! It’s good to see that there is intelligent life on this planet after all! I had abandoned this blog because of boredom after reading all the biased religious interpretations. I’m kind of tired of reading people’s comments aimed at nothing else but to reinforce their “faith” in their fantasy “God”.

      • Hector, these comments are supposed to be a respectful interpretation. Spare us your personal agenda and reflect on the movie :-)

        • Yes, I think that your advice applies first of all to the people here who are pushing a religious agenda. I did not insult anyone. I have a right to my opinion. I think that proselytizing is very disrespectful of people’s human dignity. It is very insulting when religious people express themselves as if what they believe is the truth. People who believe in God are not the owners of the truth. If you believe in God, that’s your right. But if you try to push your beliefs onto others, that is wrong. People have a right to believe differently than you do. Furthermore, people have the right to believe that God does not exist and a right to believe that those who believe in God believe in a fantasy. Such are my beliefs, and I have the right to believe as such. And if some people in this blog do not understand that my lack of faith is as worthy of respect as their faith is, then I have the right to think of them not in the highest terms.

          • When someone talks about his or her “lack of faith” I do not take that as negative or opposite to my “faith”. Even as a Christian, I sometimes struggle with “lack of faith” issues. I refer to that as “doubt”. The opposite of faith is NOT doubt … the opposite of faith is apathy. Apathy describes a person who is closed off and not open to any dialogue. I rejoice and respect your willingness to have dialogue with others and to and share your lack of faith journey. At the same time I can say that in my faith journey, God has been a real, tangible presence to me; especially during my deepest, darkest times of doubt. Peace be with you.

            • Hi Donna. Thank you for your post. I don’t have apathy. As a matter of fact, I am very engaged in my beliefs. I am an Agnostic, and I believe very absolutely that God in unknown and unknowable. Many Agnostics believe in God, but many other Agnostics like myself do not believe in God. I don’t believe that life is a miracle either. On the contrary, I believe that life is as normal a characteristic of the universe as gravity is. I was raised Catholic, and there are many things that I consider beautiful about religion. My two sisters and two brothers believe in God. I respect their right to believe, but I tell them honestly that I think the whole idea of God(s) is a fantasy first created to try to make sense of scary and unpredictable natural events, and later used by leaders to exert control over people. What do you think?

        • Besides, my comments were made to John, not to you Ashley nor to you Rob.

      • Said Hector as he wrote a post clearly working to further convince himself of his own beliefs and completely disrespecting the conclusions others have come to.

      • Said Hector as he wrote a post clearly working to further convince himself of his own beliefs and completely disrespecting the conclusions others have come to about life and the movie.

        • Rob and Ashley you are wrong. My comments were directed to John. I did not attack anyone personally. But you and Ashley both broke the rule of “No personal attacks”. You attacked me personally. You mentioned my name in your posts. Shame on you.

  10. All this talk about meanings and different levels of meanings – Jeez. I had to wait until the credits rolled to find out the animals were CGIs. I thought the tiger was REAL! Or rather I hoped it was real. And then there it was – Animation by …… Oh well it’s still the best movie I’ve seen this year. And I can always believe Richard Parker was a living, breathing Bengal tiger.

  11. It is really tough to be a guy like me and watch a movie like this. It is difficult to see the hidden meaning in anything. I don’t understand art unless it looks like a photo. Symbolism is a foreign concept. I took a Shakespeare class in college and was completely lost. I go to movies to be entertained, not to think. It looks like I better stick to the Die Hard movies. Yippie Ki Yay.

    • I am so relieved you know and understand your lot.

    • Joel, thank you for being honest. Sometimes I like movies that make me think, other times I want them to make me laugh. It’s fun to watch John McClane get the bad guys – total escape from the trials and tribulations of every day life.

      I don’t think the symbolism in Life of Pi is as important as the fact that it is beautiful to watch.

  12. Here’s my guess. The scene with the tiger slipping into the jungle represents PI’s metamorphosis between childhood and adulthood. The tiger’s hesitation; no overtly cognitive moment; the lack of a specifically defined point of demarcation. Childhood slips away hesitantly, almost imperceptibly, without saying good bye. The question of the two stories seems to be simply this: Would one rather hear life’s lessons realistically, as with science, or poetically, as with parables? The story’s meaning or outcome does not change either way.

    • I had a bit of a different take on the tiger disappearing into the jungle. It reminded me of when I left Iraq. There’s a very distinct change that occurs when you are removed from a situation where there is a real and known threat on your life. For me, I was so happy to get out of there alive that I never took a moment to reflect on everything until I was back home. Of course, my experience wasn’t quite a harrowing one like so many others’, but it was still enough that I was so thankful to be alive and safe that I never took the time to look back on the part of me that was being left behind (if that makes any sense).

      • Anthony, it does make sense. If your experience in Iraq was as a soldier, thank you for your service.

    • kind of like when pi’s dad wanted him to see the real tiger and not the romanticized tiger he saw. they each had a different interpretation of the tiger.

  13. I suspended all of my education in those creative writing classes, interpretative analysis, blah blah blah, and didn’t even realize it until I started reading these posts about the metaphors. I watched the movie and simply believed it until Pi found the tooth in the plant … did he automatically realize that it was therefore a carnivorous island? Finding himself in a lifeboat with some of the animals isn’t so strange…I believed it, especially in that he had the guidebook, …though consider the guidebook tells him how to deal with a wild animal “in case” you’re stuck in the boat with one. Hmm…how many lifeboats mention this possibility? Still, I suspended my disbelief till the tooth. The reason I questioned the Animal Story is because how could Pi find that one plant with the tooth? How many plants versus how many teeth in one or ten humans’ mouths? And he just found one of the plants with the tooth? I think there should have been a better indicator of the acid environment of the island. Something with less cliched irony. Also since Pi had such a long-winded explanation of the Human Story, without rehearsal…(does anyone realize pulling a story out of your hat with such perfection takes a few or more rehearsals?) led me to suspend my suspension of disbelief and sadly realize maybe he was just in shock, and that human nature’s stint to protect one by psychosis is what happened. But then I considered the reality…that the boy got stuck in the lifeboat with the animals and ultimately the tiger, no doubt, just like in life, weird stuff really does happen. Come on folks, look at your lives…I certainly measured my own circumstances by this story, always weighing God versus my friends the monkeys, and God does it all. Um, I think……;-)

    • I think just the opposite. People are arrogant, assuming their religion is the answer. The earliest religions were all politheistic. Not to mention, there are several religions that are so similar to Christianity,that occurred centuries before Christianity, all the way down to a “Son of God”, and a Holy Trinity, one is not being open minded when they assume the current modern religions are right, and everyone else is wrong.

      I believe many humans cannot handle the thought of an existence without god, as it makes them face a reality of an ephemeral existence, and they cannot handle the thought that a person is here, toils, dies, and no longer exist.

      • Well said, except that it is a beautiful reality. Nobody gets upset when they watch “The Lion King”, do they? They understand the beauty and harmony of the circle of life. It should be understood by everyone that you have to make the best with your life because it is the only one you have. And to quote The Holy Bible, Book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 9 (New International Version):

        3 “This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.”

        4 “Anyone who is among the living has hope —-even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!”

        5 “For the living know that they will die,
        but the dead know nothing;
        they have no further reward,
        and even their name is forgotten.”

        6 “Their love, their hate
        and their jealousy have long since vanished;
        never again will they have a part
        in anything that happens under the sun.”

        7 “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.”

        8 “Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil.”

        9 “Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.”

        10 “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”

        11 “I have seen something else under the sun:

        The race is not to the swift
        or the battle to the strong,
        nor does food come to the wise
        or wealth to the brilliant
        or favor to the learned;
        but time and chance happen to them all.”

        It’s the circle of life. There is not evil in the lion killing and eating the gazelle. We come from the dust of the stars and we return to the dust of the stars.

        • I would say your mother quoting what you said, when you were on an other floor, is possibly due to another dynamic. Your mother knows you so well, she can predict what you are going to say.
          I know my mother often can tell me what I am thinking. This makes perfect sense. She carried me in her body for nine months, and raised me. No one knows a person better than their own mother.

  14. I seen this film last night and thought it was very good, Ive read a lot of comments in this thread and its sad how some people dont believe in God, These people must not realize the size of the universe and the multiple dimensions that excist out there, to think all this stuff just popped up with nothing behind it comes across as ignorant to me, our eyesight is extremely limited which scientist are now saying, just because you dont see it doesnt mean its not there, My mother and my aunty both had a near death experience, my mother was dead for two and a half minutes and in that time she said she saw the other side, she said she felt more alive and alert when she was dead than being alive, To her this was our real world, it was a feeling of pure love that you cant explain on earth, extremly powerful she said, she said it was like she was returning home, the light she saw was so intense that if was on earth it would blind you, she did not want to come back, it was pure peace, as much as she wanted too, she didnt reach the light, she was told it wasnt her time yet, my auntys story is exactly the same, her proof of this is when she was dead on the operating table, she knew word for word what I was telling my father in that time when I was on another floor! When she told us this we all got goosebumps! My Dad is no longer a sceptic and now goes to church, I could tell you a lot more and I cant believe im writing this on screen rant lol, But this is a true story, Reject God at your own peril, If you dont try know God before you die than you will not know him after you die, The world is going down the can because people are so arrogant thinking God is a myth, You dont enter the real world until you die, Our time on earth is just visiting, God is real. Believe it.

    • To live is to sleep, to die is to awaken. Every second of time is profound. Everything we learn is for a reason.

      • Please respect others’ views pertaining to religion and reconsider your words. Just because people don’t believe in god does not mean they are “ignorant” or “arrogant”.

      • if you don’t like other people’s interpretations, and opinions, you don’t have to read them.
        I found them all to be very enlightening.
        Perhaps these interpretations have made a few people’ ” Doubting Thomases”, and they fear their well ordered perception of reality disturbed. To be truly enlightened, one must consider all things. As Pi’s father pointed out, you must believe in one thing, or you wonder aimlessly. Of course that statement has its own perils. How do you know you have chosen the right path?
        Most Christians I know, do not have the capacity to consider any other possibility.
        As Kierkegard said, or was it Wayne Campbell? “Once you label me, you negate me.”

    • I enjoyed reading this post. It’s refreshing to hear people of faith share part of their journey. The movie shares the journey of Pi but a good portion of the message has been left up to the viewer. I found it an enjoyable well crafted movie.

      • My interpretation was that, regardless of what you believe, the outcome is the same. You can choose the story with “beauty”, where God made all things right in the end, or you can choose the ending where people were ugly, and selfish.
        It is a metaphor, for how you live life.
        Kevin Kline said, in “Silverado”, you can go through life, like everyone is your friend, or no one is your friend. In the end, the results are the same”. I paraphrased of course.

        • I embraced Christianity when I was a child, until I learned the reality of things. Once again, the forum states, do not use names. Seems no one listens. I love this “Hedging your bets” mentality. Essentially saying, maybe God doesn’t exist, but what the heck, I will believe in him, that way I will have all bases covered.

          I could turn that mentality around to say, if God is real, and merciful as described, he will forgive me, and let me in the Pearly Gates even if I didn’t believe in him.

          Over the next few centuries, which we will not have the pleasure to experience, all current religions will most likely become less influential, and have fewer followers, quite possibly ceasing to exist. You can see this occurring as we speak.

          Man created religion to explain what he doesn’t understand. Through objective investigation, man continues to find the answers, and will no longer need fairy tales to explain the unknown.

          People can believe whatever they choose, however, when religion becomes a tool to control others, it is destructive.

          Most people are brainwashed in childhood to believe in a religion. A child not fed mythology, learns to look at the world with rationality, not looking for some mysterious, floating hand reaching out of the skies.
          Further, a god whom can, “Do anything”, would not allow pain and suffering. That is the strongest indicator of how distorted the entire process of religion is. Please don’t reply with the worn out rhetoric, “God moves in mysterious ways”, or “It’s all in God’s plan”.

          Most people who are religious pose no threat to me, so I just laugh them off. Most religious people cannot agree among themselves what the truth is, thus the reason nations are killing each other to prove their god is the right one.
          Modern religion is simply a way to control people to get what one wants, which is usually the same thing every other control construct is designed to do, make money.

      • With the most respect possible, I have a reply to you Rick. There are tons of people out there that say “I’m a Christian.” I’m talking about the people who Truly LOVE Christ and seek Him in His word. …. The reason that Christians are not able to be “open-minded” about the possibility of there not being a God or other beliefs is very simple. Once you have been touched by Christ, there is no denying it. You can FEEL Him. He is real and if you truly know Him, you cant have an open mind because there is nothing to discuss. He is real. He is alive. It’s like being raised by a father and someone telling you he was only your imagination…. You knew him. You felt him. He was THERE. … You would think someone was crazy if they tried to tell you that someone you personally knew was not real. I KNOW Jesus. He is real. That’s the reason the capability is not there to think any other way. I hope that one day, all of these people commenting will meet Christ. Not because I want to be right; because heaven and hell are real too. Who would want ANYONE to spend eternity in hell? It’s not our place to JUDGE, however, it is our job to share the word of Jesus to our brothers and sisters so that maybe they will have an “open mind” about the possibility of there being a God. Once they meet Him, they won’t be open minded about there not being one. Prayers for all of you. … One more thing to all who are non-believers… If you are right, we will all fade away, turn to ash and that’s that. So if I believe in God and you are right, it doesn’t harm me… Oh well. BUT, let’s say that I’m right and when you die, you either go to heaven or hell. It will depend on your relationship with Christ… If that were the case, your reply would not be a simple “oh well.” … Ponder both of THOSE endings.

        • so what you are saying is you want us to believe because it is the safe way? so answer me this what if we are both wrong and Allah is the real god, or Zues or any other god throughout the history of time. All i say is i dont know. i dont know if god exist. There is no 100 percent tangible evidence of him. Plus you have to realize where im coming from. i was brought up a christian. i was baptized and confirmed lutheran. i was told as a child that homosexuality was wrong and that i should not like them or associate myself with them. So before you start acting like religion is all good things stop and thing about the bad things that have spawned from a belief in god. Millions have died due to someones religious belief. So with all due respect ill keep not knowing what is out there. and if you are right and god is a fair and just god i would hope that he would be petty and judge me based off of my actions while i was living. i have been a good person who has never intentionally caused anyone harm. If that is not good enough then i dont know what else he would want me to do.

        • Whatever you feel is a reflection of your own feelings and your need to feel. The scientific method was invented so that we could separate plain falsehoods from that what has a chance of being true. Do you want to believe in God? Believe this: THE UNIVERSE IS GOD. And it has a consciousness. We humans are the consciousness of the universe. We are the part of the universe that has become conscious of itself and looking at itself in wonderment asks, “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” And it is not a fluke. IT JUST IS, as the God in The Bible said in the book of Genesis, “I AM THAT I AM.” The universe just IS. Nobody made it. There is no longer need for the God construct. You TB (Tuberculosis?) could be without the God construct and live as good a life as otherwise if you just decided to. Nonetheless, you’re free to believe whatever you want as long as your beliefs do not compel you to “convert” others to your faith, or to “kill” others in order to save them, or to “punish” them because they are “infidels”, or to try to scare them with your threats of “Hell”. Capisce? Why don’t you listen to John Lennon’s, “Imagine”, and do some imagining? And to Michael Jackson’s, “Man in the Mirror”, and improve yourself?

        • Leave Rick alone. He speaks the truth. The followers of all religions at one point in time or another persecuted and killed those who did not believe as they did. There are some things that religions can be proud of, but in the sum total, no matter what good your religion did, if people were murdered in the name of your religion, there is something wrong with your religion. “Religion is darkness”, as Pi’s father eloquently said. “Why not start with reason?” instead of with something that makes you stubborn and intolerant?

    • The whole light at the end of the tunnel hallucination and other aspects of the near death experiences have been adequately explained by science. The research is readily available. Sorry, but death is death, and the points you make present absolutely no evidence for some imaginary god.

  15. I think that Pi asking the writer which story he prefers…and then says “and so it is with God”…I believe the metaphor is that it doesn’t matter if you are a Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, etc…God is still God no matter what story/path you follow to him/her. The outcome is the same, the higher truth is the same.

  16. Both stories are true. The animal version is a metaphor for the human story. The key to the move is when his father tells Pi that what he sees in the eyes of the tiger is a reflection of himself. The main point being that life is a function of the way you choose to see it.

    The secret of life is to make your peace with reality. Reality is cruel. It contains death, disease, sickness and old age. But at the same time life is the most wonderful gift the universe has to give. Human consciousness is an unexplainable miracle. The only sins are your failure to appreciate the magnitude of the gift and your failure to use it well while you have it.

    The trick the mind uses to allow the enjoyment of life in spite of its cruelty is metaphor. All religions or philosophies that help to give life meaning are metaphors to allow us to get some enjoyment out of the here and now without being overwhelmed by thoughts of the tragic end that awaits us all.

    Your choice as to the real story in the movie is a metaphor for your real choice in the way you decide to see, understand, and appreciate your own life. Choose well or waste the miracle you have been given.

    • Well said. This is the type of introspection I seek in a movie like this. If the tiger is Pi in the metaphor, who is Pi?

    • Donald, Thanks, that was a good explanation.

  17. this is one of the best movies i have ever seen it is very different because it lets u chose your ending. my personnal preference is the one with the tiger because i believe in miracles. this explication really helped me understand the movie therefor i will tell my confused family members the real point of this movie. I cant wait to read the book. my favourite part was when the blue whale jumped up into the air the effects were so spectacular i thought it might’ve been real. i hope to see more movies with this unexpected ending. I love the journey he goes on… but i would never want to go on one like that.

    • Very Nice. Way to use the noggin!

  18. I think when Pi left the island yet waited for the tiger (his inner primal self) to come back to the boat it showed he was not leaving off the island again without summoning his inner survival instinct. Pi would need it to go back to the ocean from where he came. Furthermore when he arrived on the shore in Mexico the tiger left him without looking back as the primal self does not think beyond action and reaction. Therefore the tiger not looking back I believe symbolized his primal instinct devoid of any self-awareness, ideology or morality. I believe he wept for that version of himself and how cold and animalistic it\he truly was. Never looking back meant no remorse, concern, gratitude or reflection for anything other than his urges, impulse and primordial needs at the time. He wept at the realization this was very much a part of who he was.

  19. My heart sank at the end when I felt like the point was maybe that God is fantasy, and we choose to go with that story because it is easier for us to believe than the truth……..funny cuz I didn’t draw that conclusion from the book. Anyways, after reading the above explanation I can see that might not have been the intended message. I’m curious what the author intended, but I can’t help but feel the movie intended to lead us that way.

    • You people with this “tragic human story” is the real story sound crazy to me. Probably as crazy as the “magical fantasy animal story” sounds to you. Clear as day the movie wants you to believe the animal story. You just watched a children’s movie acted out by adults and now you can’t wrap your mind’s around it. I just saw Jack the giant slayer, witch is the story of jack and the giant bean stock. Was Jack real or not? Do giants exists in the sky? Doesn’t matter, only thing that matters is that thing’s work out for the best in the end. Is it magic, luck, God, Jesus, Allah ect or the matrix where life is a algorithm of binary computer code, doesn’t matter. Life is short and dirty, enjoy the success and learn from your failure. Most people can agree with that rather you believe in a higher power or not and if you don’t agree with that you probably worship Satan lol.
      I love how the writer brought religion into the story, people will talk about it forever now. Take out all the religion in the film and it would have been just as entertaining, maybe not as touching but certainly very entertaining.
      No speel check lol speel

  20. Ok. So I just finish watching the movie Life of Pi. This description really helped me get the movie even better. As I read along you kept answering my questions I had in my head. Although I’m still very upset of him telling the two different but very relaitible stories. I just want the truth still. So when he cried about tell the second story about his mother, Japanese and the cook really real since it brought out so much emotion then him telling the one about the animals!!!!???? I hate this twist line up to the story.. It just made me realize so much. But awesome movie.. Eyes stayed wide open throughout the whole thing.

  21. we have same perception! but I think the 3rd story is what really happened but love richard parker.. Love also the movie guys..

    • You say, people fail because they do not follow “it” perfectly. This invalidates the entire purpose of the book, that humans are not perfect, and must seek atonement for their imperfections.
      There absolutely is plenty of evidence to repute the bible. A lot of it, has been presented in this blog.
      The bible is chock full of circular, sophist, reasoning, and plenty of hate to go around.
      Not to mention how proclaiming the bible is right, is to tell others, followers of the Koran, the Torah, or any of the other numerous “operator’s manuals”, is a slap in their face.

  22. There is a third allegory that everyone is missing. What is at the core of this story? It is a contest between Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and Atheism. Ultimately it is a contest between God and science. The third story is that Pi was adrift at sea long enough to let these four belief systems battle it out. The Japanese sailor represents Buddhism. The French cook represents Christianity (here being portrayed as a Western Religion). And Pi’s mother represents Hinduism. Christianity defeats the other two religions, but what about Atheism? Pi, the tiger, represents Atheism (survival of the fittest) and kills off Christianity, the last vestige of faith he had. I believe this is the moment of truth to the author. When Pi raises the question, which story is better? And the writer says the one with the Tiger. The author is saying, we like to believe in fantasy, because it is more interesting, but it takes faith to believe it. I believe Pi lost his faith. That is what I believe is the message of this movie.

    Now, if I am going to post something like this, I want to make it known that as interesting as the movie is, I do not advocate this message. I am a Christian. I left Atheism for Christianity because I believe there is greater objective evidence for it. I do not have trouble with the Bible. I believe that for anyone who really tries to understand it, they will find they cannot prove it wrong. I also believe that if a person will live perfectly by it as a follower of Jesus Christ, they will do no wrong, and the reason they do wrong is because they don’t follow it perfect, nor can they because they are sinners living in a fallen world. But that is what makes its message so unique. Being perfect is not what saves you. The spilled blood of the one who is perfect, Jesus Christ, is what saves you.

    All the other religions in the world deal with people attempting to get to God or Nirvana or heaven on their own merit in one way or another. Christianity is getting to heaven based on God’s merit. Atheism is just trying to deny that God exists. In my opinion, it is like standing in the middle of a highway and saying I don’t believe there is a semi coming, but the truth is, you’re about to get run over. . . those who choose not to believe will go to Hell on their own accord. But if you will put your faith in Christ, you will be saved. So, what I believe is a little different from that of what I believe the author is conveying at the heart of his story.

  23. Me think the tiger did say goodbye by its hesitation to go to the forest, but in its own way not the way Pi wanted……. (but as the skinny and weak tiger went to the jungle, imagine what the local jaguar gonna do, yeah right eat it of course, otherwise we’d have half jaguar half tiger and we’d call it jagger and maroon5’s song would have a different moves n meaning).

    • Wokay….what have you been smoking?!

      I did think Richard Parker’s hesitation before stepping into the jungle was meaningful, as if he were thinking, “Okay, now what?” Pi was too hysterical to have a clear thought like, “Now what?”, but fear of what would happen next may have been part of what was happening with him. He was touching the earth for the first time with his family gone.

    • We do have a Jagger. His first name is Mick and I wish he would disappear into the jungle of Mexico!

  24. Spiritual Will
    Had Its Will

    Richard Parker,
    He’s the lineman.
    Hey I need you.
    You’re somethin’
    Rock the boat,
    A little patrol of safety
    From the most dangerous thing of all,
    What keep me on my toes
    Till the morning come.
    Put ‘im beside your bed.
    You grow strength that way.

    Never a release from the tiger.
    I’m not lyin’.
    Among other things
    You show it rules to obey
    It will learn them.
    Boy mustn’t get too carried away.
    The moment of mastery has arrived.
    A friendship now it knows you.
    Take him to salt.
    He’s your challenger no more.
    It’s your moment past him.
    Something bigger,
    Bigger than life even,
    Is your next movie.
    Can’t a cheetah do it,
    Make on earth reveal God.

    Richard Parker,
    Thank you Richard Parker.
    I must’ve been asleep.
    This symbolism gown,
    This gonna cost yah.
    You make them wear veils
    What you’d reach for wrong.
    I skipped a generation,
    Let it come in for school.
    After a good many trials and tribulations
    I reached my way North.

    Now what did Life of Pi
    Have to teach us?
    You know,
    I wanna tell you somethin’.
    You thought you just winked right out of there.
    For oneness to occur
    How many miles of road
    With their temple
    That’s-Not-All-the-People-Can-Discover –
    The comic consciousness.

  25. I believe I saw a fantastically made movie with a lot of creativity. The ultimate reality is that it was there for me to enjoy. I never saw the director that made the movie but I do believe he exists. :-)

    • He exists for sure. I saw him at the Oscars.

    • Yes, but the difference is that you can actually go and see the director because he is not an illogical imaginary fantasy like Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, or some god.

  26. the father: “religion takes us into darkness, science give us real answers”. Pi ends up a Pantheist, when he comes ashore in Mexico and putting his face in the sand feels God”.

    The message of the film is all religions are man made by “whopper” stories and mentally lazy humans prefer the biggest story whoppers, because they are greedy.

    Science is light, real answers and solutions; religion is darkness.

    • Maybe science is the tool by which The Higher Power of the Universe gets things done!

      • Hi Andrea! Good to see you again. Science is our attempts at understanding the higher power, which is of course the Universe. No need for anything else, just “Imagine” if you can.

  27. Crazy animal story = bible stories. People will listen and share fantastic stories for generations.

    • The realistic story = reality. People won’t remember them or pass them down to their kids.

  28. I honestly thought this movie was great. It has a lot of feeling put into it and was very moving. Thought the ending did seem to confuse me, this interpretation of the ending helped me understand this ten times better. Thanks for the explanation.

  29. I thought the movie was beautiful both visually and spiritually for me