A Summary and Review of Ratatouille

A Summary and Review of Ratatouille

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  1. The heart of Ratatouille is summed up by the fictional critic, Anton Ego.  In his review of Chef Gusteau‘s restaurant, he finally agrees with the late chef’s saying: "Anyone can cook".  In the months before this movie opened, the trailers only demonstrated that the film would be about a rat that can cook, messing with previous conceptions that rats in the kitchen equaled disease and unsanitary food.  An extended trailer revealed the kind of poignant depth Pixar is capable of – the main character, Remy the rat, and his human friend, the trouble-prone Linguini, "speak" to each other for the first time.  Linguini is tasked with killing Remy, who was discovered making delicious soup in the kitchen of Chef Gusteau‘s restaurant.  Linguini cannot bring himself to destroy the rat’s life, and lets him go in hopes that Remy will assist him in cooking.  Once free Remy zooms away, only to have a change of heart after seeing the despair consuming Linguini.  It’s a memorable scene that demonstrates Pixar’s ability to wordlessly convey emotions.  


    The bulk of the movie is about Remy’s and Linguini‘s friendship.  Remy is a brilliant chef and Linguini has no cooking talent at all.  Together they create a powerful team, with Linguini as the figurehead and Remy as the brains, and manage to make the declining Gusteau restaurant relevant again.  However, Remy must deal with his family – particularly his father – arguing that rats should not be mingling with humans.  It takes Pixar’s strong storytelling skills for the audience to actually root for a rat.  The animated films of Pixar are kids movies and the underlying moral, "Follow your passion", is something children should hear.  But Pixar movies also appeal to adults, as evidenced by the numerous accolades and awards, and adults sometimes need motivation as well to believe that they can achieve what they dream of doing.  


    A side benefit of watching Ratatouille is that the movie watcher is able to learn a bit about French cooking and the make-up of a restaurant kitchen.  The difference between a chef and sous-chef, for instance, is something that can be explained in this movie.  At the very least, the movie watcher should be able to view his or her next meal with a bit more appreciation for being able to prepare and/or enjoy a variety of food.   


    Ratatouille came out in 2007 and was directed by Brad Bird.  Rated G and a 111 minutes long, the movie is perfect for the whole family.  It was a hit with critics and won the 2007 Animated Feature Film Oscar award, beating out Persepolis and Surf’s Up.

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