Disney-Pixar is well known for their ability to take any ordinary situation or circumstance and turn it into a heartwarming, wholesome family flick. “Ratatouille” is obviously no exception.
The film, written and directed by long time Pixar affiliate Brad Bird, stars comedian Patton Oswalt as Remy, a rat in Paris, France with an unusual passion for cooking, opposite animator Lou Romano as Alfredo Linguini, a garbage boy who begins a wordless friendship with Remy. Linguini works for one of the most incredible restaurants in all of France, Gusteau’s, named after the late Auguste Gusteau. When Linguini attempts to fix a soup he accidentally ruined, Remy jumps in to fix the misstep but is caught by the nervous garbage boy. After Remy is discovered by the restaurant owner Skinner, voiced by Sir Ian Holm, Linguini is told to take him outside and kill him, but he discovers that somehow Remy can understand him. Linguini receives a job as a chef at Gusteau’s but can only do so by pairing with Remy to cook meals together by Remy piloting Linguini through pulling on his hair. They must cooperate to maintain the illusion of cooking in the world’s best kitchen.
The first thing to say about the film (although, I imagine everyone has seen this movie) is that it is so endlessly charming. There have been other roles that Patton Oswalt has had that have completely turned me off to his stage presence and acting, but Oswalt excels in this movie. His voice acting lends itself to this animated rat so well. The voice talent in general in this movie is so well performed and directed.
The various themes of the movie include things like Gusteau’s motto, “Anyone Can Cook,” (possibly a reference to famous chef Julia Child), and this really brings the movie together. If we peel back the first layer of this movie, the phrase “Anyone Can Cook” is not actually referring to specifically cooking. It’s referring to the idea that everyone has talents and skills that can be honed and put to use.
Another theme in the movie involves people with various talents getting overlooked because of hierarchies that exclude them. The example in this movie borders on the ridiculous of course (rats and humans), but the metaphor is still obvious enough. There are many people in the world who are excluded from showing their abilities and passions because of prejudice. In the movie, Remy isn’t able to pursue his passions of cooking (despite his perfect sense of taste and smell) because he is a rat and upon being seen by any humans, they immediately attack him. Linguini is the only one who treats Remy with kindness and compassion even though outwardly he appears to be something that is undesirable. Pixar always manages to sneak in excellent messages that everyone should learn from.
“Ratatouille” is streaming on Disney+ and it deserves a rewatch. Other than the film, the film has garnered some extra attention in recent years thanks to TikTok and their “Ratatouille: the Musical.” Give the film one more watch and enjoy!