These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: Life of Pi
Acceptable Religious Targets: Pi respects and admires his strictly atheistic teacher, and devoutly practices Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. However, he heaps all of his scorn on agnostics, viewing them as doubters who lack the resolve to pick a side.
Actually an award speech snub: the visual effects team were planning to include a statement about the hard times many special effects companies are going through, even as their work is being used more than ever, but were cut off by the Jaws theme. This led to a hundreds-strong protest.
Averted by the film itself, which took home more Oscars than any other film released that year - including the Oscar Bait.
More upsettingly, Suraj Sharma, who played Pi, did not get nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor. This despite the fact that he practically carried the entire film on his shoulders, acting opposite a green screen to convince audiences that he was staring down a tiger, and starved himself and isolated himself from other people to get into character.
Fridge Brilliance: At first glance, the meerkats on the island sleeping on trees seem to be a clear example of Somewhere, a Mammalogist Is Crying, because those animals actually live in burrows. But from an evolutionary standpoint, it makes perfect sense: Imagine a bunch of meerkats by some means arriving on the island. Those who show their normal behavior of creating burrows quickly get devoured by the island, and only a few, showing the abnormal behavior of climbing on trees, survive. Those are the ancestors of the current meerkat population Pi encounters. That's how natural selection works! ( Of course, the point is moot if Pi just made everything up.)
Pi's second story accounts for all the characters and events that happened in the first story, except for one: the island. Except, it does. If you choose to believe the second story, then what happened is that Pi found one of the other survivors' teeth in the boat, probably the cook's.
The carnivorous island Pi finds himself on sort of resembles a dead body from afar in the film. The roots from the trees could represent human veins, and the meerkats could represent maggots.
Another implication of the second story is that Pi was forced to cannibalize his mother - in the book it is only her head the cook threw overboard, and in the animal version Richard Parker eats part of Orange Juice's body after the hyena kills her. If the island is meant to represent a dead body, it was likely his mother's body.
Hilarious in Hindsight: Pi was mocked as a child for having a name that could be mispronounced as "Pissing." When he's lost at sea and quarreling with Richard Parker, he actually does piss to mark his territory and show him who's in charge. That does not end well for him.