A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
While there's nothing conclusive, the movie dabbles in all kinds of mysteries that could possibly exist in the real world, from the mystery of pi (is there a pattern?) to the stock market, to the Torah, to other mathematical equations and to the idea of patterns in nature (spirals). Plenty for thoughtful minds to ponder.
Positive Role Models
While Max is brilliant, he seems to be using his gifts for personal gain (predicting the stock market) and is almost unfailingly rude to others, even when others are trying to be nice to him. All other characters seem to have ulterior motives, and, seen through Max's paranoid eyes, can't be trusted.
Violence & Scariness
Hero gets several bloody noses. Dripping blood/puddle of blood. Gun shown. Punching, biting. Hero poking at/smashing brain. Drill through side of skull. Violent, scary sounds, such as screeches, banging, etc. Arguing/yelling. Chasing. Bugs crawling on computer. Motherboards covered in icky goop.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sex noises, sex-related dialogue heard through apartment wall.
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Uses of "f--k," "s--t," "t-ts," "bastard," "goddamn," "damn," "hell," "piss," "oh my God."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Hero pops several handfuls of prescription pills (for his headaches). He takes an injection. He talks about things he's tried for his headaches, including marijuana, steroids, various drugs.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pi is an independent sci-fi movie, the impressive feature debut of Darren Aronofsky. It's filled with brilliant ideas, but shot in a very grainy, bleached-out black-and-white, with shocking, intense images that, at times, make it almost like a horror movie. It's already a deserving cult classic, but it's not recommended for viewers under 16. It includes scary, loud noises, a bleeding nose, dripping blood, and nightmarish imagery, like brains. A gun is shown, and there's some fighting, arguing, and chasing. Language is strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," and other words. A couple can be heard having sex through the apartment walls, with some sex-related dialogue audible. The main character takes pills for his screeching headaches, and is said to have tried marijuana and other things to combat his malady. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Darren Aronofsky's grainy, bleached-out black-and-white debut feature puts together many intriguing ideas, bathed in intense sequences of pain and hallucination; it's challenging but rewarding. Released in 1998 and written by the director (based on a story by himself, actor Sean Gullette, and producer Eric Watson), Pi is an almost impossibly brilliant combination of ideas that seem as if they can come only from real life. The movie sends you away pondering the infinite possibilities of patterns and mathematics and religion and nature, as well as the possibility of something greater than ourselves.
Yet Aronofsky takes a vividly downbeat view of these things, as if their very existence would certainly drive a person insane, rather than revealing anything. Pi has a penchant for torment and anguish that the director explores in virtually all of his later works (especially Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan, and mother!). The grimy cinematography offers nothing to grab on to in terms of texture or color; the screeching, terrifying headache sequences are worthy of a horror movie; and the main character's final solution is as pessimistic as they come -- though it has a somewhat peaceful conclusion. Nonetheless, Pi is an intensely personal work, uncompromising and unforgettable, that deservedly became an instant cult classic.
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.