I watched Life of Pi on the first week of January (2013), and until now, I’m still thinking about it. If you saw “Inception,” you’ll know what I’m talking about. But the difference is that Life of Pi’s effect on you is a toned-down Inception.
In other words, this movie makes you think. There are several elements, scenes, and parts that make a good conversation piece -- things that make you go “huh?” or “Can someone explain that to me?” It’s a character-driven movie, and Ang Lee (and perhaps Yann Martel) successfully left the audience hanging.
SPOILER: Read at your own risk.
At the end of the movie, middle aged Pi mentions that when the Japanese employees came to visit him at the hospital, he told them two types of stories. The first one involves animal characters (orangutan, tiger, hyena, zebra), and the second one involves real people (Pi's mother, the sailor, the cook, and Pi).
When Pi told the first one, the Japanese didn't believe him. "Bananas don't float," they told Pi. But when he changed the characters, the Japanese did not doubt him.
If you make an effort to think of what this means, somehow, WE are the Japanese employees. We only believe what we want to believe, or what we think is possible to believe.