Is it real? Is this whole story real? I refuse to ask that question. Life of Pi is all real, second by second and minute by minute, and what it finally amounts to is left for every viewer to decide. I have decided it is one of the best films of the year.
—Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times
There are always moral crosscurrents in Lee's most provocative work, but so magical and mystical is this parable, it's as if the filmmaker has found the philosopher's stone.
—Betsy Sharkey LA Times
Pi has designed his own terrarium to keep from staring directly into the abyss. It's not denial. It's faith in something else: the transformative power of storytelling. The film is transcendent.
—David Edelstein New York Magazine
Meticulous care is evident in every aspect of the film. All three actors playing Pi are outstanding.
—Todd McCarthy The Hollywood Reporter
Life of Pi, at its best, celebrates the idiosyncratic wonders and dangers of raw, ravaging nature, and Lee wrings more than enough meaning from the excitement of that spectacle; we need nothing higher.
—David Denby The New Yorker
This exquisitely beautiful adaptation of Yann Martel's castaway saga has a sui generis quality that's never less than beguiling, even if its fable-like construction and impeccable artistry come up a bit short in terms of truly gripping, elemental drama.
—Justin Chang Variety
Lee's bigger theme isn't God or survival, but the awesome adventure of making the imaginary visible, the adventure of making movies.
—Lisa Schwarzbaum Entertainment Weekly
Life of Pi, Yann Martel's beautiful little book about a young man and the sea and a tiger, has transformed into a big, imposing and often lovely 3-D experience.
—Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune
The movie invites you to believe in all kinds of marvelous things, but it also may cause you to doubt what you see with your own eyes - or even to wonder if, in the end, you have seen anything at all.
—A.O. Scott The New York Times
I felt like I'd been invited to a seven-course dinner, and all seven turned out to be cake – and then the host insisted on delivering a lecture about how cake would bring me closer to God.
—Andrew O'Hehir Salon.com