“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy,” Anton Ego, the ominous food critic says in his review of the titular dish in “Ratatouille”. “We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and themselves to our judgment.”
In the pursuit of artistic perfection (if there is any such thing), the creators inevitably finds themselves at a crossroads: the intersection between a stirring internal passion and the desire for external approval.
“Now shut up and eat your garbage,” Remy’s loving but disapproving father, Django, bluntly says to him over a meal.
This inflection point is where 2007’s “Ratatouille” generates its unexpectedly poignant drama, as well as carves its uniquely enduring legacy in the esteemed Pixar firmament, not to mention the greater cinematic firmament (as well as the Tik Tok firmament).
The internal and external are intrinsically tied in the hero’s journey tale of the film’s protagonist, Remy, a rat whose highly developed sense of smell thrusts him into the wonders and spoils of the culinary world.
From toys coming alive to a corporate world populated by monsters, Pixar has always operated in the most unlikely of storytelling terrain. Yet the famed animation studio nearly always manages to unearth the most universal depths of feeling, with “Ratatouille” standing as, perhaps, the personal crown jewel of this long-standing sentiment.
“I can’t cook. But you can,” Linguini, the amateur chef who forms the most improbable, yet lovable of tag-teams with Remy, says. Linguini becomes the external chef, with Remy acting as ventriloquist, bringing his appetizing internal creations to life. This dynamic culminates in the titular dish, which you can even make for yourself.
Despite these suspensions of disbelief, “Ratatouille” never loses its sense of candor. The rendering of the French culinary world, exhibited in the Gusteau restaurant, lends a veracity that simply is not found in other films of its ilk.
It is within these specificities that “Ratatouille” finds its emotional grace notes and remains the very reason it has endured on repeat for an entire generation. A film that was once considered underrated, but is now considered nothing less than a cultural institution and an inspirational touchstone for the culinary and artistic worlds.
Anton Ego finishes his review (swallowing his ego) by eloquently stating, “Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist can come from anywhere.”
Ratatouille is available to watch on Disney+.