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FILM FANS: 'Life of Pi' is stimulating, fascinating

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: "Life of Pi." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

4 out of 4 stars

If you're looking for a movie that moves you in a way that few movies do these days, "Life of Pi" may be just the movie you're looking for. It poses some interesting questions. It truly makes you think.

Based on the best-selling book of the same name, the movie follows a young Indian boy whose name is and isn't the mathematical symbol. Named after a swimming pool, but shortened due to childhood teasing, Pi finds his way to religious teachings through various circumstances. Three in particular -- Christianity, Hinduism and the Muslim faith -- interest him. He finds importance in all three although it directly contradicts what his father wants him to believe. Due to a hard economy, his father makes a decision to close the zoo and move the family to Canada. Shortly after, the ill-fated voyage begins, with Pi losing his entire family, and another journey, both physical and metaphysical begins.

Ang Lee in his direction astounds with the beauty of the scenes and the script delivers messages of faith that are deep without ever being preachy. It's a stunning accomplishment of beauty and quiet introspection. It also asks an important question. What will you believe?

-- Ron Adams, Statham

3 out of 4 stars

Director Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" (Irrfan Khan as adult Pi and Suraj Sharma as teenage Pi), is a visual symphony, effortlessly enveloping you into an incredible story of survival, washing over your soul with each tide surge. "Life of Pi" is an extraordinary masterpiece with daring expectations, promising his story will make you believe in God. Parents of young or impressionable children are warned: This movie has intense scenes of terror at sea, as well as what happens with wild, hungry carnivorous animals.

The odyssey unfolds with a youthful Pi, whose family lives in India where his father manages a zoo. Financial difficulties force them to relocate and join relatives in Winnipeg, Canada, transporting the family and animals aboard a vessel which sinks in the depths of the Pacific, drowning all on board save Pi, and four animals (zebra, hyena, orangutan and an adult Bengal tiger) who manage to climb out of the watery grave into Pi's life raft. You know from the beginning Pi survives, but the real tale is about indomitable spirit and finding the meaning of life. This movie was very rewarding and the metaphorical journey's end surprised me, leaving me question which incredible version was true.

Pi didn't alter my faith's course, but it did make me believe in the brilliance of Ang Lee.

-- Myra Simons, Buford

4 out of 4 stars

"Life of Pi" was visually stunning and a completely immersive experience.

The story was engaging and I was very impressed with the teenager who played Pi.

It was not just a story about a kid stranded on a lifeboat with a tiger, but a story about faith and self-discovery. It created a fantasy world I wanted to believe in.

I have not read the book, but I would like to read it now to go more in depth with the characters and understand more of the story. I did not see it in 3-D, but I think it would actually be worth the extra cost. Make sure you at least see this one on the big screen.

-- Laurel Grams, Lawrenceville