The eighth computer animated film by Pixar, Ratatouille (2007) is about a rat named Rémy who has a highly developed sense of taste and smell. Dissatisfied with eating garbage like the rest of his family, he wants to become a chef. When he winds up in Paris, he gets his chance to cook at the restaurant founded by his idol, Auguste Gusteau, by making a deal with the restaurant's garbage boy, Linguini, who (thanks to Rémy's interference) has been mistaken for a cooking genius. Rémy guides Linguini in the kitchen in a puppet-like manner so that Linguini doesn't lose his job, while Rémy gets the cooking experience (and critical fame) he desires.For information on the preceding short Lifted or the follow-up short Your Friend the Rat, see the Pixar Shorts page. If you're interested in the tie-in game, go to this page.For the actual dish that gave the movie its name, go to Snails and So On. Ratatouille is a garlicky stew of mostly squash, eggplant, and tomatoes, and whatever else the cook might have on hand that day and want to use up. It's not considered haute cuisine in France... more like provincial peasant food.
Ratatouille provides examples of the following tropes:
Adorkable: Most of Linguini's scenes are this trope, due to him being so dang clumsy and awkward.
Amoral Attorney: Skinner's lawyer, after proving that the young Linguini is the rightful heir to Gusteau's restaurant, is perfectly happy to advise his client on how to cheat the boy out of his inheritance.
Awesome but Impractical: Using a shotgun to kill rats. You will make it pretty clear that you are a Badass Grandma and you will completely ruin the rats' day, but you'll be lucky to hit even one of the rats and the collateral damage will be disastrous.
Bad Ass: Pretty much everyone in Gusteau's kitchen except Linguini and Skinner.
Colette knows her way around the knives and is the self-proclaimed "toughest cook in the kitchen." No-one bothered to contradict her.
Horst, apparently, has gone to jail before. His stories included robbing the second largest bank in France with a ballpoint pen, killing a man with one thumb and creating the hole in the ozone layer over Avignon.
Pompidou managed to get himself banned from both Las Vegas and Monte Carlo.
Larousse was part of a resistance, although apparently they didn't win.
Be Yourself: A major theme in the movie, although it is mildly subverted because Linguini and Rémy only reach success in the first place because they are basically each other.
Linguini: Let's think this out: you know how to cook, and I know how to... appear human.
Bittersweet Ending: Zig-zagged; this is a Disney film after all. Rémy manages to impress Ego with a simple ratatouille and, while he is surprised a rat was the one who did the cooking, Ego writes an honest review giving praise to him. However, Skinner and the health inspector had to be let out eventually, and of course they ratted, resulting in Gusteau's restaurant getting shut down. Ego loses his job and credibility, but he is still able to invest in a small bistro that eventually becomes just as successful. Rémy and his family are on staff along with Linguini and Colette, and have access to all the food they can eat, thus giving everyone a happy ending regardless.
Bound and Gagged: Done by the rats to both Skinner and a health inspector near the end of the movie to get them out of the way, if only temporarily.
Horst, who claimed to have killed a man with his thumb. When Chef Skinner is fired and tries to spy on the kitchen, Horst wordlessly holds up his thumb as a threat.
After Skinner loses his job, he calls the health inspector and tries to convince the man that there was a massive rat infestation at Gusteau's. The inspector replies in a bored manner that his next opening is in three months, unless something is cancelled. He is treated as one of Skinner's failed attempts to sabotage Gusteau's and forgotten. At the movie's climax, the inspector suddenly enters Gusteau's kitchen and sees dozens of rats in the kitchen, leading to an Oh, Crap moment.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Linguini is a complete failure as a chef, but is quite possibly the fastest and best waiter in France, when he needs to be.
Cursed with Awesome / Blessed with Suck: Rémy. What good is being a great chef with refined tastes if A) your Extreme Omnivore family thinks you're just being unnecessarily picky and B) you're more likely to be slaughtered than be allowed into a proper kitchen?
Daddy DNA Test: How Skinner, Remy, Collete and Linguini find out that Linguini is Gusteau's son.
It's Lamp Shaded that maybe Gusteau himself didn't realize he had a child, not because he died before Linguini's birth, but it may have been so long that he didn't remember being with Ranata.
Anton Ego. For a good 3/4 of the movie, he's this trope:
Anton Ego: (about the restaurant) Finally closing, is it? Servant: No... Anton Ego: More financial trouble? Servant: No, it's... Anton Ego: ...announced a new line of microwave egg rolls, what? Spit it out!
Rémy counts when he talks. When he's around Linguini and the other humans, he's more of a Silent Snarker.
Colette's initial attitude towards Linguini comes off as rather... hostile but she becomes much mellower towards him as their relationship develops.
Anton Ego could count at the film's end. True, his defrosting is much more abrupt and dramatic, but he's undeniably a much happier and friendlier person afterwards.
Diegetic Switch: "Le Festin" playing over the finale. As the camera pans over the line outside the new restuarant, you can see a woman singing the song to her boyfriend.
Distracted by the Sexy: Linguini with Colette, much to Rémy's chagrin. If you look closely, you can see that this is what caused him to spill the soup in the beginning, setting the whole plot into motion.
Anton Ego's office, where he has consigned many a chef to infamy, is shaped like a coffin; also, his typewriter resembles a skull. Ego himself was designed after a vulture. The title of his column is given at the very beginning of the film: "The Grim Eater".
Colette hits Linguini in the face on several occasions when she is upset with him. He never complains and she is still presented as completely sympathetic throughout the film.
She also stabs knives through his sleeves and threatens to kill him if he doesn't keep his station clean. While she probably didn't seriously intend to hurt him in either case, it's unlikely he would get away with doing the same to her.
It is heavily implied that a couple Rémy ran into had the woman try to shoot the man, but it's still Played for Laughs.
Dramatic Drop: Ego drops his pen when he first tastes Rémy's ratatouille.
Dropping the Bombshell: Skinner reveals during a discussion with his lawyer that he is paranoid about the rat, thinking Linguini is trying to psyche him out. Skinner's lawyer notes that he had to take a second sample of Linguini's hair. When Skinner asks why, the lawyer says:
Lawyer: The first time, it came back identified as rodent hair.
Colette while Ego is observing the kitchen in Gusteau's after his meal.
Gusteau does it in a deleted scene in which he is still alive after Skinner brings up the idea of "Corn Puppies."
Feminine Women Can Cook: Inverted. Colette makes it clear that it's very difficult for a woman to get into haute cuisine, due to the sexism ingrained in the system, and that the only reason why she managed to become a professional chef was because she was willing to go through hell. (This is quite true; women have an extremely hard time making it in the culinary world, particularly in France.)
Rémy is a talented chef who's determined to break free of the norm; Linguini is horrible at cooking and has no ambitions greater than holding a steady job.
As pointed out in the Technician Versus Performer section, Colette is a by-the-book chef while Rémy loves experimenting. Interestingly, they both hold Gusteau in high regard, but take different interpretations of his advice while adhering to his most cherished belief: anyone can cook.
French Cuisine Is Haughty: Ratatouille is set in "Paris, France, home of the finest restaurants and the greatest chefs in the world". The movie actually does a great deal to subvert this trope. Gusteau's philosophy was that "anyone can cook", which is derided by snooty food critic Anton Ego, and at the end, Ego is won over by the eponymous stew, considered a lowly "peasant dish", which brings forth warm memories of his childhood. Colette lampshades the trope, but points out that it doesn't mean the cooks themselves are at all snooty.
Frothy Mugs of Water: Thoroughly averted, as Disney is wont to do. Wine features prominently in the film, as it would in the real culinary world, and as noted below, Linguini is quite drunk in one scene, after having consumed almost an entire bottle of wine.
Food Porn: Pixar took extra care to make sure the food was delicious-looking.
Head Pet: Rémy, while technically not a pet, rides on top of Linguini's head to control him while cooking since the chef's hat hides him from sight.
Heel-Face Turn: Something like this happens to Ego after he eats some of the ratatouille, and learns that the chef that made it is Rémy, after which he gives a more positive review of Gusteau's. Even after Gusteau's is shut down for rat infestation, when Ego loses his credibility as a food critic, he willingly funds the new replacement bistro.
Heroic Bastard: Linguini is Gustav's illegitmate son. That's the underpinning of half the plot.
Hot-Blooded: Colette qualifies based on her passionate introduction.
Humans Are Bastards: According to Rémy's father, anyway. It turns out that we're not really that bad (see below).
Humans Are Morons: Unlike Rémy's father (directly above), Rémy believes the humans are just ignorant, seeing that rats have traditionally been pests, anyway.
Hypocritical Humor: Gusteau says in an interview that you must always be strong and fearless, regardless of what people think of you... Just before he dies of a broken heart after getting a bad review and losing one of his five stars.
Colette: (sweetly) I'll make this easy to remember: Keep your station clear (not so sweetly) OR I WILL KILL YOU!
Idiot Ball: When Linguini spills the soup, instead of doing something believable he starts throwing random ingredients into it while hoping nobody sees what he's doing. This is done purely to advance the plot by getting Rémy into the kitchen.
The Inspector Is Coming: two of them actually, at the same time. The main focus is on Anton Ego, an infamous restaurant critic whose review already cost the restaurant one of its star ratings. But while Rémy and the other rats are preparing the food, a health inspector shows up unannounced and sees all the rats.
In Vino Veritas: Averted. Skinner attempts this on Linguini, hoping that by getting him drunk, he will mention something about Remy, but instead he just starts rambling about how ratatouille doesn't seem like a very appetizing name for a dish.
Imaginary Friend: The Gusteau who floats beside Rémy when he wants or needs someone to talk to. He vanished for good when Rémy realizes he doesn't need Gusteau any more.
Impairment Shot: We get the blinking eye shot from Linguini's perspective as Rémy tries to wake him.
Justified Title: There's the obvious pun (which is lampshaded by Linguini for a Title Drop), but there's also the meal served up at the film's climax, and the name of the restaurant the main characters eventually start up.
Knife Nut: Colette pins Linguini's sleeve to a chopping board with three huge knives whilst explaining to him how difficult it was for her to get to where she was, and if the knives aren't enough, there's her smile when she warns Linguini not to mess up. She's most definitely a knife nut.
Lampshade Hanging: When Rémy first experiments on pulling hairs to control Linguini, he comments "That's strangely involuntary!"
Lethal Chef: Judging from Rémy gagging at the mere smell of Linguini's improvised soup, this is how he cooks without the rat's help. Linguini himself took a testing taste of said soup earlier... and immediately ran to the window to lose his lunch. Also, rats are physically incapable of vomiting, so the soup must bethat badto make Rémy gag. Considering some of the things Rémy's brother and father eat, he has to be used to really bad smells — especially since smell and taste work together.
Male Gaze: In a PIXAR movie! Hey, it is set in France, so it could have been way worse.
Also, Skinner (named after scientist B. F. Skinner, who performed experiments on rats to study animal behaviour).
"Auguste Gusteau" translates into "majestic palette", and "gusto" is related to words referring to the sense of taste or appetite (IE "gustatory"). A man with a sense of taste befitting royalty? He might just make a good chef.
Bonus points for "Auguste Gusteau" being an anagram.
Ratatouille initially seems to be used merely as a double meaning title; however, it later carries significance as the meal that impresses Ego despite its "peasant dish" status.
When Linguini is about to reveal Rémy to Colette, Rémy forces Linguini to kiss her. Colette (understandably) pulls a can of mace on him and his half-terrified (the mace), half-ecstatic (the kiss) look is an animation feat.
Skinner, when he realizes Linguini's soup has left the kitchen.
Both Skinner and the health inspector get a moment after barging in the kitchen and seeing all the rats.
Punny Name: The movie itself, "ratatouille" being the name of an actual dish while the first syllable is also the main character's species. The same joke was made on Fawlty Towers, decades earlier, and similarly, in Discworld II, which expanded upon the rodent-name food puns (like vole-au-vents).
Reality Ensues: Twice, both times showing that while a couple of main characters might change their minds abut rats, most people are still revolted by them.
Linguini comes clean about who's been doing the cooking, and the entire kitchen staff walks out.
Ego is thoroughly delighted with his meal, meets the real chef, and overcomes his initial skepticism to write a glowing review of him... but the health inspector still shuts the place down for swarming with rats. This one gets a Lampshade Hanging in the narration, no less.
Reassignment Backfire: Skinner, trying to get Linguini kicked out of the kitchen, gives him the task of cooking a recipe that Gusteau himself said was a disaster. To his shock, Rémy quickly fixes the recipe to the point where it is so delicious that everyone else in the restaurant wants it, running the cooks ragged to keep up with orders and convincing everyone else in the kitchen that Linguini is a master chef.
Reed Richards Is Useless: Linguini discovers an unusually intelligent rat who not only knows how to cook delicious gourmet food, but even washes his hands before doing so. Instead of alerting scientists to this incredible find and possibly becoming famous for it, he just keeps it secret and lets it make food for him. One would think there'd be a sizeable niche market in "come see a rat cook haute cuisine!"
Subverted when Linguini reveals Rémy to the rest of the kitchen and tells them that if they have faith in this rat's culinary genius, they will all have a glorious future; they all promptly quit. Also played straight because Rémy's family, moved by Linguini's speech and willingness to stand up for Rémy, decide to help out and do the cooking.
Inverted earlier, as Linguini tries to inspire the cooks to make a 5-star-inducing dish for the harsh food critic Anton Ego. He fails to inspire anything but confused glances and yawning. Colette ends up doing the work for him with two sentences.
Scenery Porn: Pixar went to a lot of trouble to capture the look and atmosphere of Paris in the autumn.
The early scene where Linguini nearly throws Rémy into the Seine (which takes place near Pont Notre Dame in the east bank) is beautifully rendered and lit, with a touch of light fog adding to the mood.
Gusteau's restaurant, curiously, is a real restaurant in France, known in real life as the Tour d'argent (Silver Tower).
The rat-catcher's shop is also real (down to the window display as depicted). It's also a taxidermist, thus explaining the trophies in the window.
Almost indistinguishable, but in the beginning when Rémy ends up on the floor of the restaurant under the counters while hiding, there are tiny bits of food on the floor with him. They went to the trouble of detailing the crumbs on the floor that hadn't been completely cleared.
The producers got authentic Culinary BadassThomas Keller, acknowledged by damned near all other professional chefs to be the greatest American chef alive right now, who owns and runs several high quality restaurants (he's the only chef in America to earn a three-star rating for two separate restaurantssimultaneously) and is the author of several high-caliber cook books, to show how the craft works, and used Colette's mentoring montage to show that research off. That sequences serves not only to establish verisimilitude in that story, but also to develop Colette's character and encourage the heroes' and the audience's respect for her.
Look closely at what Rémy does with Linguini's toilet bowl soup — not all the stuff he's tossing in his readily recognizable, but the stuff that is (dressing, cream, shallots, etc.) more or less is turning it into a tomato bisque.
They also actually cooked some of the recipes used in the movie themselves, so that they could accurately render how foodstuffs look and react when being prepared via various cooking techniques.
The ratatouille variant that Rémy prepares for Ego at the end was invented for the film; Chef Keller was asked what he would do if a critic like Ego were to suddenly enter his restaurant and, in a moment of inspiration, created the dish.
If one looks closely, one can see that the chefs have small burn scars on the underside of their forearms.
And speaking of burns, why does Larousse have a torch? It's not just because he's a pyro; that's a pastry torch, used to melt sugar for crème brûlée and certain other dishes.
One of the animators jumped into a pool wearing a chef's uniform, so they could accurately render what such a uniform would look like soaking wet.
Look carefully, and you'll spot Bomb Voyage from The Incredibles on a street corner. Here, he's not so villainous: just a regular old French mime.
When Colette is introducing the other chefs she mentions one of them (the pyro) was a member of a failed Résistance (although he won't say which war) — cue the La Résistance music from Medal of Honor, which shares a composer with this film.
Possibly Colette herself: her last name is "Tautou", like the actress of Amélie. And Sidonie Gabrielle Colette, mostly known by her family name, is a famous French author.
Slap-Slap-Kiss: Rémy briefly witnesses a particularly extreme (though plot-irrelevant) one — the woman is pointing a gun at the man and threatening to shoot him. Rémy keeps running, but after a shot is fired into the ceiling near him, he does a Double Take and runs back — they're now kissing.
Slow Motion Drop: When Anton Ego drops his pen after one taste of Rémy's ratatouille.
The Smurfette Principle: Colette is very much aware that she is the only female chef in the restaurant and is a definite minority in the profession in general. She was forced to claw her way up and as a result feels that she has to be tough and defensive to succeed in a career she worked so hard for.
The Speechless: Rémy, a rat, is unable to communicate with Linguini, a human, throughout the whole film. The only time he speaks is to members of his own kind and to the audience (we can assume that this is Translation Convention at work), though technically the whole movie is him recounting how he got to where he is to a group of rats.
Spirit Advisor: Rémy, desperate to talk to someone, imagines up Auguste Gusteau. Rémy is fully aware that Gusteau is a figment of his imagination and he disappears when Rémy realizes he can rely on his own judgment. This is actually played with, for the most part it does seems like his imagination. But as the film goes on Gusteau starts to feel more like his own entity than Rémy's considering his reactions. Even Rémy starts to wonder when Gusteau departs his final words of wisdom on him. So it's more or less leave the audience to decide if it's really coming from Rémy's mind or Gusteau's actual ghost helping him.
Spit Take: Subverted. Ego starts one when he hears that Gusteau's is "popular" again, but pauses to check the label and decides his wine is too good to waste in such a fashion. Parental Bonus moment: That's a real wine, and far too good to spit out like that.
Squirrels in My Pants: Linguini's first attempt to carry Rémy around in the kitchen results in the rat slipping in his uniform and the boy drawing lots of attention with his gyrations. It gets worse when Linguini starts slapping Rémy inside his clothes in frustration, and the latter retaliate by biting.
Start My Own: After they lose Gusteau's restaurant thanks to a health inspector finding out about the rats. Rémy, Linguini, and Colette start up their own restaurant, a small bistro with Ego as a main investor and Rémy's clan both helping out in the kitchen as well as being served alongside humans. It turns out to be a huge success.
Stick Em Up: Sous-chef Horst says that he "once robbed the second biggest bank in France using only a ball-point pen." Of course, as Colette notes, he changes stories every time he's asked.
Straw Critic: Subverted. Ego is extremely hard to please, but his high standards are sincere, and when confronted with true culinary genius he recognizes and supports it, even when doing so jeopardizes his career.
Take That, Critics!: Some people have taken Ego's review to be an attack on the incredible willingness of critics to tear things apart for no good reason. Though film critics appreciated the fact this film shows it to be a more complex affair and that Anton Ego is ultimately very sincere about his high standards and will go out of his way to back a true genius.
Tantrum Throwing: Rémy starts throwing things around in the restaurant backyard after Linguini spurns him. It doesn't go very far since he's rather small, but he manages to break a wine bottle.
Technician Versus Performer: Colette is a Technician, and Rémy (controlling Linguini) is all Performer, and they both need to balance their game.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Poor Rémy never really finishes any meal he makes, notably the "lightningy-cheese-mushroom-saffron" recipe from the beginning of the film, or when Linguini snatches him away from his omelette while rushing for work. Lampshaded and finally averted when Linguini (after being bitten a dozen times) notices how hungry his new friend is and gives him a piece of cheese.
This Is My Story: The movie starts with Rémy crashing through a window. The action is paused and he starts narrating with the following line.
Rémy:This is me. I think it's apparent I need to rethink my life a little bit. What's my problem? First of all, I'm a rat, which means life is hard. And second, I have a highly developed sense of taste and smell.
The eponymous dish has great significance in the movie's climax and the bistro that Rémy, Linguini, and Colette set up in the film's end is named "La Ratatouille."
However, this trope is also parodied when earlier Linguini brings up the subject of "ratatouille" for no other reason besides being drunk.
Linguini: Ratatouille. It's like a stew, right? Why do they call it that? If you're gonna name a food, you should give it a name that sounds delicious. Ratatouille doesn't sound delicious. It sounds like "rat" and "patootie". Rat patootie! Which does not sound delicious.
Training Montage: Rémy and Linguini practicing their puppetry in Linguini's apartment, and Colette teaching Linguini how to work in a professional kitchen.
Translation Convention: We can hear the rats speaking English, but it's shown that the old lady at the start of the film (and presumably all the other humans) hears nothing but squeaks. And for that matter, all the humans in France speak English too.
Truth in Television: The rants Colette gives to Linguini regarding what it takes to be an effective and successful chef could have come, word for word, from any chef in the world who has ever had to take a brand new cook in hand and change him from a kitchen-halting speedbump into a frictionless part of the kitchen machine. And given the participation of Chef Thomas Keller in this movie, they most likely did. Yes, Chefs are really that strict in restaurants, considering you have to be on the constant move to get orders done and make sure customers are happy with it as well. High-class restaurants even moreso.
American viewers, specifically. All the French text in the film was changed to English for American audiences, although it was kept as French for the British release. Although since the most popularly taught second language in the UK is French (also the country's closest neighbour) as opposed to the USA's Spanish, it kind of makes sense that the creators would presume more UK viewers wouldn't need the text translating for them.
Gusteau's is called a five-star restaurant, rather than having to explain that for élite restaurants (e.g. Michelin Guide) the highest rating is three stars (almost all restaurants would get zero stars). The filmmakers did not have the rights to use the Michelin guide, so they had to use their own rating system instead.
Villainy-Free Villain: Anton Ego fits this trope to a T. He seems less interested in doing his job and more interested in acting on some bizarre vendetta against Gusteau's.
Visual Pun: Skinner's humiliating ousting from the restaurant and subsequent creepy determination to prove that a rat is involved somehow ends up driving him in Seine.
Vomit Discretion Shot: Linguini does this out a window after a brief taste of his own soup... before Rémy fixes it.
What the Hell, Hero?: Linguini is furious when he catches Rémy helping his clan to steal food from the restaurant fridge.
When Elders Attack: A crazy old woman tries to shoot the rats with a shotgun, but completely and utterly fails.
X-Ray Sparks: When Rémy and Émile are cooking something on the TV antennae over chimney smoke, they are struck by lightning and their skeletons show.
Yank the Dog's Chain: Anton gave Gusteau's a great review... but since the rats tied up the health inspector — they had to release him — the restaurant got closed. But don't worry, Rémy soon gets his own restaurant.