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Tip of the Week

'Pi' Is a Movie with It All, Arguably Best of the Year

Julie Samrick
Kid Focused

Why is it that fresh, smart story lines have taken a backseat to visual gymnastics in kids' movies lately?  The bigger the budget, the more tricks we see, but this often means less in the way of character and plot development.  That is until Life of Pi, the new film based on the 2001 novel by Yann Martel.  It does have modern special effects, but "Pi" also has a story line that soars, making it one of the best kids' movies (or any movie for that matter) of this year.
The movie begins with a grown man, Pi Patel, narrating his life story to an author, promising that his saga will "make anyone believe in God."  Pi takes us back to years before, during a voyage across the Pacific to a better life with his family, when a monster storm orphaned Pi at sea.  Marooned with only the caustic Bengal tiger from his family's cargo-packed zoo, we see that Pi's obstacles are just as much an odyssey of the mind as they are the physical feats of being lost at sea for 277 days.
The great coming-of-age classics The Black Stallion, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and E.T. come to mind while watching this film. It's about a boy whose adventures teach him about life and its big questions. 
Children 7 and older will identify with Pi as a regular kid, but his compassion, commitment, and honor make him a role model, too.  There are many themes that can be discussed with kids, but faith and the importance of saying goodbye come first to mind.  There are also snapshots of Indian culture during the first chunk of the film that kids would benefit from seeing.
The movie is rated PG for some intense scenes, like the shipwreck and when the animals turn on one another for survival.
I recommend this movie for all kids over 7 with parental supervision.
Rated PG

Running Time: 2 hours 5 min.

4/4 stars

Julie Samrick is a stay-at-home mom of four young kids and the founder of Kid Focused, a site devoted to children and family issues.  Subscribe to the free Kid Focused newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox and connect with us on Facebook too.  Permission granted for use on

Tags: God, Kids, Movie Review, Parenting, Religion, Values
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