SPOILER ALERT: I do not think this movie can be spoiled, but if you worry about such things, stop reading, run out and see the movie.
The first version of the movie that will make you believe in God is a visually gorgeous story of a boy who survives a shipwreck on a boat with a tiger. His faith helps him survive by sustaining hope against fierce and unforgiving, but beautiful, Nature.
But overlaid at the very end is another argument for God's existence, another explanation for the persistence of faith.
In this version, the real story is not a story about surviving on a boat with a tiger, but about coming face to face with the monstrous human capacity for evil. The tiger is an allegory, a metaphor, a story the boy tells himself to survive in the face of that which cannot be faced openly.
In extremis, faced with the undeniable reality of monstrous human evil, including our own, do we believe in a higher power or must we live with evil alone? Which story do we prefer?
The tiger, shouts out nearly every human heart who watches this movie. "And so it goes with God," the now-grown boy says. "Life of Pi" is nothing less than a beautiful dramatization of Pascal's Wager.
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.