LIFE OF PI
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy who says, "The scenes with Pi at sea may be mentioned slightly out of order, but the details are there."
The opening sequence is of the zoo where all the animals (elephants, monkeys, zebras, flamingos, etc.) are all going about their business.
We meet a writer (Rafe Spall) chatting with Adult Pi (Irrfan Khan). He is beginning his story, but first, he starts with the origin of his name. His "honorary" uncle (whom he calls "mama-ji") was a frequent swimmer thanks to his large chest and skinny legs. He went to a pool in Paris that was "so clear, you could make your coffee there." The pool was called Piscine Molitor, and therefore, Pi's full name was Piscine Molitor Patel. However, as a child, other people had a hard time pronouncing it, and the kids would taunt him by pronouncing it "Pissing." Having had enough, he abbreviates his name to Pi, and is shown in math class having full knowledge of the entire equation for pi.
The writer mentions that his last novel was a failure, so he is hoping that Pi could provide him with a good one after hearing from "Mama-ji" in a coffee shop that he (Pi) had a story to tell that would make him (the writer) believe in God.
Adult Pi continues with how as a child, he was fascinated with religion. He first came to know Krishna from a story his mother told him, and he is initially raised Hindu. One day, his brother Ravi dares him to drink holy water from a church, and met with a priest who explained to him the story of Jesus Christ after Pi is confused as to why God would send his son to suffer for cruel people. The priest says this was done out of love. Finally, he is introduced to Islam and Allah. Pi's father tells him that he shouldn't be wasting his time with all these religions, but Pi responds that he wants to be baptized.
Adult Pi tells the writer about Richard Parker, their Bengal tiger. He was named as such because of a mix-up in the paperwork when he was brought in. Kid Pi tried to feed Richard Parker some meat through a cage, but Ravi runs to tell his father. Father decides to teach the boys a lesson the hard way. In order to show how dangerous Richard Parker is, he has a goat brought in, and the boys watch the tiger maul it and drag it away.
As a teen, Pi meets his first girlfriend, Anandi, during a music lesson. He follows her one day, which she notices, and asks him what he is doing. He was curious about a dance move that she made. Eventually, they bond and Pi shows her around the zoo, even showing her Richard Parker.
Things take a big turn in Pi's life when his father announces that the city council is no longer supporting the zoo, so they are taking the zoo and moving to Canada. Pi is forced to say goodbye to Anandi, and he experiences his first heartbreak.
The family boards a Japanese cargo ship. Father gets into a fight with the cook (Gerard Depardieu) after he is rude to Mother when she asks for a vegetarian meal.
At night, Pi hears a storm happening. He tells Ravi they should go out in the rain, but Ravi wants to keep sleeping. Pi goes outside and plays in the rain, but the winds become intense and the ship's alarm sounds off. Pi rushes to find his family, but the water's already rising in the ship. He runs out where everyone is evacuating on lifeboats, but he pleads that they find his family. He is shoved onto a lifeboat, which falls after a zebra jumps on it. As the lifeboat pulls away from the sinking ship, Pi tosses a life raft out, only to have Richard Parker pull on it and hop on the boat. Pi falls into the water again and watches as the ship sinks to the bottom of the sea. He tearfully cries out an apology to his family.
The next morning, Pi rescues an orangutan from the sea. The zebra is still there, along with a hyena who antagonizes Pi. Richard Parker is hiding.
As some time passes, the zebra dies of starvation/thirst. The hyena tries to attack Pi, but the orangutan smacks it down. The hyena retaliates and kills the orangutan. He prepares himself for Pi, who prepares to fight back, but Richard Parker lunges toward the hyena and devours it. The tiger eventually eats the other two animals, so Pi makes a separate raft to keep himself at a distance from Richard Parker.
Pi discovers biscuits and water on the lifeboat, sharing some with Richard Parker to keep him happy. He finds a rat and tosses it to the tiger, who swallows it whole.
Pi documents his time in a journal. He tries to best Richard Parker by marking his territory on the boat (actually pissing there), but Richard Parker responds by spraying him with his own fluids.
He notices the food supply is dwindling, and Richard Parker is getting hungrier, so he tries to get some fish. He grabs one large fish in a net and traps it. He beats it to death, and right before it dies, it flashes a few colors. Pi cries and thanks a deity for appearing to him as a fish. Eventually, many more fish come swimming and flying out, and Pi realizes if he is to have his share, he must come to tame Richard Parker.
During the evening, Pi tries to catch more fish, but he encounters a large whale who jumps high up and then splashes Pi's biscuits and water out.
Pi tames Richard Parker by using a sort of spear to prove he has control over the tiger and that he is not afraid of him. The tiger appears to have an understanding with him. One evening, they appear to share some sort of connection while staring into the water. There's a trippy sequence where we see a lot of the zoo animals and Pi's mother appear in the ocean over some crazy visuals.
Pi sees a ship in the distance and tries to beckon it with a flare, but to no avail. He repeats to himself, "Above all else, never lose hope", even when the boat is gone from sight.
Another storm occurs. Pi thinks this is a sign from God, but the thunder and lightning frighten Richard Parker. As it settles, the tiger looks exhausted and gaunt. Pi tearfully tells him that they might be dying. He takes a moment to hold Richard Parker close to him as he prays once more.
When he awakens the next morning, he sees that he is shaded by some leaves. They have reached an island. The first thing Pi does is grab a nearby plant and eats it. As he walks further, he spots a colony of meerkats. He walks past them to drink fresh water. Richard Parker, of course, does not hesitate to eat a few of them.
Pi makes a bed up in a tree, but then looks at the water below and sees a bunch of dead fish. The meerkats and Richard Parker all appear to be running away. Pi finds a fruit with a human tooth inside. Adult Pi theorizes to Martel that the algae was acidic and carnivorous, and that years earlier, another person was in the same situation as Pi, and left the tooth in there thinking he'd be there longer. He knew he had to keep moving forward.
Pi pulls the boat to another island. He becomes weaker and falls onto the sand. Richard Parker walks out and stops before some trees. Adult Pi says that Richard Parker never looked back and disappeared into the jungle forever. A group of people find Pi and rescue him, but he weeps for the fact that Richard Parker "unceremoniously" left him alone.
In the hospital, Pi is visited by two Japanese reporters questioning him over the ship sinking. They find his whole tiger story to be farfetched and unbelievable, so he has to come up with a fictional story (a more "realistic" one) and says he survived the boat with his mother, the cook, and a sailor with a broken leg. The cook killed and ate the sailor, and then Pi's mother tried to fight him back, but she was eventually killed, as well. Pi says he killed the cook.
In the present day, the writer notices the parallels between the made-up story and the animal story - the sailor is the zebra, the cook is the hyena, Pi's mother is the orangutan, and Pi himself is Richard Parker. Adult Pi asks the writer which story he preferred, and he says he liked the one with the tiger. Pi responds, "And so it goes with God." The writer says that Pi's story was truly an amazing one, and he asks if he will allow him to write it. Pi says yes, as that is why Mama-ji sent the writer to him. The writer says he guesses Pi's story had a happy ending, to which Pi responds it's up to him, because the story is his now. He invites the writer to stay for dinner, and introduces him to his wife and two children as they come home.
The final shot is of Richard Parker facing the jungle before walking away forever, never looking back.