Lincoln, Pi, and God

This is one of the posts recovered after a botched website move in 2013. It was originally written and published on December 1, 2012.

'I'm coming in under the wire with my Friday blog post, I know, but timing is everything. Schedule and necessity combined to present me with an opportunity I've been anticipating: seeing Lincoln and Life of Pi.


I confess I had high expectations of this film. Aside from the solid reviews and sold-out showings at local theaters, friends who had seen it were raving about it. I settled into my seat late this afternoon, prepared to be wowed.I was wowed. I was surprised, in fact, by how wowed I was. It was almost eerie watching Daniel Day-Lewis so immersed in the physicality of the role that I felt I easily could have been watching refurbished footage of Abraham Lincoln himself, had the ability existed during his lifetime.The movie was, by turns, thought-provoking, humorous, and moving. Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln was strong without being overpowering. Seeing the dynamics of their relationship play out humanized them in a way that history books don't, and perhaps shouldn't.Also notable were Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, David Strathaim as William Seward, and James Spader (who I adore, and miss tremendously as the wily-wacky Alan Shore on Boston Legal) as W.N. Bilbo.Even knowing how Lincoln's remarkable life ends, it was shocking and sad. I wasn't the only one sniffling as his time of death was called.I will be surprised if this film doesn't win a multitude of statuettes from the upcoming movie awards circuit, including Best Movie, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress.

Life of Pi

After an in-between break involving a very quick dinner and a trip to the grocery store, I was back at the cinema for Life of Pi, based on the book by Yann Martel.I haven't read the book, but the previews for the film were intriguing, and it seemed as if it was "one of those movies" that should be seen on the big screen.

♠ Intriguing? Check.♠ "One of those movies" that should be seen on the big screen? Check-check.

Suraj Sharma is the Pi (full name: Piscine Molitor Patel) with whom we spend the most time; the teenage castaway. Irrfan Khan is the adult, reflective Pi who is still deeply affected by what he endured during that long-ago part of his life.It is a beautiful film; visually breathtaking with a story that is riveting. I loved Pi's adolescent openness and exuberance as much as I did his adult Zen.From a storytelling standpoint, I very much appreciated the skillful usage of flashback to move the action along in present and past.I don't see it winning Best Movie, but it wouldn't surprise me to see it in contention for Best Director for Ang Lee, and for technical awards such as cinematography and visual effects.


Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer.A major component of Life of Pi is Pi's thirst for God.As a young boy, he has a compulsion to learn about a variety of religions, and reaches a point at which he is as likely to be seen giving thanks to God and Jesus before eating, as prostrating in honor of Allah.As a castaway, he is searching for God in the midst of his loss and terror, offering himself up to God's mercy.With a good deal of humor, and without being preachy, the depiction of Pi's willingness to accept and integrate a variety of religions into his spiritual practice was refreshing.I came to the conclusion a few years ago, through my thirst for spirituality, that God is all in the sense that the Force is all, connected to and through all of us.I've come to think of God as a benevolent energy rather than an omnipotent being. That's what makes sense to me, and has brought spiritual practice back into my life.

What are your thoughts about God? A God (or, in some case, multiple gods) for each religion, or a God akin to the Force?

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