Parents' Guide to

Life of Pi

By Betsy Bozdech, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Beautiful, emotional, intense story of faith and friendship.

Movie PG 2012 127 minutes
Life of Pi Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 41 parent reviews

age 14+

Totally harrowing for under 14, I disagree with CSM here

I am stunned that CSM would think 10 year olds could see this. I wouldn't let my 14 year old, who is very sophisticated, see it. She would be freaked out by the violence towards animals. And although I think she is sophisticated enough to grasp the greater themes of the movie, she would have long left the theater in tears before getting there.
age 10+

Powerful, Beautiful

I was glad that I decided to take my 9 year old to this film. The film is harrowing but never gratuitous and often deeply beautiful. Some reviewers expressed concern about the animal violence. I think any child with a love for and understanding of nature will not find those confronting or surprising (they are not explicit). The issues raised by the film run far deeper than that, and are well with exploring with any child who is engaged with life's deeper questions deeper. My 7 year old would have been fine with the imagery, but I suspect would not have engaged with the heart of the film and would not have enjoyed it in the way my 9 year old did. A great film.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (41 ):
Kids say (88 ):

LIFE OF PI is a beautiful, emotionally resonant tale of faith, friendship, and perseverance. A runaway bestseller when it was published in 2001, Yann Martel's novel Life of Pi was long considered by many to be unfilmable. After all, one of the two main characters is a tiger, who spends much of the story in close quarters with a teenage human. In the middle of the ocean. But director Ang Lee, who is nothing if not unpredictable himself, has proven any remaining naysayers wrong in spades.

It looks absolutely gorgeous -- like James Cameron did in Avatar, Lee uses 3-D to make the world of Life of Pi an immersive, almost tactile place, from the hummingbirds that flit toward your face to the enormous waves that bear down on you during the intense storm sequences. The CGI is equally impressive; while intellectually you know that it would be next to impossible to get a tiger to do the things that Richard Parker does, there are moments when his fur ripples so realistically that you'd swear he's 100 percent real. While some of the story's twists and themes will probably have more impact on those who haven't read the book, there's no denying that Life of Pi is a powerful movie that's just as likely to make you think as it is to make you shed a tear or cheer in triumph.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate