It’s time we stop sleeping on “Ratatouille” (2007) and recognize it as being not only the best Pixar film but the film we all need right now.
For those of you who’ve been living under a rock and have no idea what I’m referring to, “Ratatouille” is this one-of-a-kind film about a rat named Remy with a rare and unique talent that not many of us are blessed with: cooking. His keen sense of smell and passion for cooking lead Remy to leave the safety of his pack in the sewers of Paris and make his own way in the world — the human world, to be exact. He eventually makes his way to Paris’ most famous restaurant, Gusteau’s, and forms an alliance with a talentless, human dishwasher named Linguini to create culinary works of art.
Like I said, the film is one of a kind. But it’s not the only reason why I love it so much.
I love it because it’s a film that will lift you up, a film for the underdog, (or underrat?), a film that celebrates the connection between humans and everything “not-human.” It’s a film that celebrates the joys in life, the things that bring us all together — namely, food. That’s what “Ratatouille” is all about. It’s this magical, humbling, little film that exists without any crappy sequels. It takes Paris, an already beautiful city full of life, love and art, and recognizes all of these traits, bringing them to life in a way only animation could.
But the film’s story is universal. Remy represents a small part of us that strives to be something we’ve been told we can’t be. He represents a dream we’ve been longing for. Linguini represents our insecurities, the side of us holding us back. The two together create this power, this ability to create and do the impossible, to prove others wrong. It’s a powerful, moving film that gives off the vibe that it’s just here to have a good time. It’s hilarious, adorable and perfect. If it had a scent, it would probably smell really good.
Most importantly, “Ratatouille” has this unique trait where you can’t make fun of it, even if you tried. Does it have tons of meme-able content? Yes. Does it leave you with unanswered questions about the logistics of having a rat live on top of your head 24/7? Sure. But you can’t help but treat Remy like he’s the protagonist of some Scorsese film. Because boy, he feels so real — almost human.
Now, I’ve recently watched “Soul” (2020) and liked it. A lot. It felt like the most adult Pixar film to date. I had a similar feeling when I watched “Inside Out” back in 2015. But “Ratatouille” is truly something else. Perhaps because it captures our lust for food, for love, for happiness, for life better than any Pixar film ever will.
Here’s to the rats who dream!