The eighth computer animated film by Pixar, Ratatouille 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.For the actual dish that gave the movie its name, go to Snails And So On.
Adorkable: A majority of Linguini's scenes is 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.
Angel Face, Demon Face: Ego looks cadaverous and evil until the very end of the film, where he appears to have gained some weight and lost his ghastly pallor; this could be explained by him eating well on a regular basis and generally being happier.
Angrish: Linguini after Rémy has bitten him multiple times.
Animals Lack Attributes: Here's some fun trivia the kids might not want to know: Male rats have huge testicles. Aren't you glad they didn't add it into the film?
As You Know: Skinner lets his lawyer read the entire stipulation regarding the restaurant in Gusteau's will before snapping "I know what the will says!"
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.
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.
"Let's think this out: you know how to cook, and I know how to... appear human."
Big Eater: Émile. Oh dear God, Émile. Could probably qualify as a Fat Bastard in some interpretations.
Bittersweet Ending: Zigg-zagged, this is a Disney film after all. Remy manages to impress Ego with a simple Ratatouille dish and, while surprised a rat was the one who did the cooking, writes an honest review giving praise to him. However, since it was rats that were preparing the meals that night and the protagonists had to let Skinner and his lawyer go (who, of course, "ratted them out"). The health inspectors promptly shut the restaurant down and Ego loses his credibility and job. But everything turns out fine as Ego helps invest in a small bistro where Remy and his family are staffed (and can have all the food they can eat) along with Linguini and Colette, which turns out to be just as successful. Ultimately giving everyone a happy ending and subverting this trope.
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.
Also, "I killed a man. With this... thumb." After Linguini claims his inheritance, Horst catches his former boss spying on them and shows him the thumb, giving the impression he's threatening to kill Skinner with it.
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 (Remy's family) in the kitchen, leading to a hilarious Oh Crap moment.
Buffy Speak: Linguini, tired of the hairionette treatment, tells Rémy: "I am not your puppet! And you are not my puppet... controller... guy!"
"Appetite is coming and he's going to have a big ego! I mean Ego! He's coming! And he's going to order! Something... from our menu! And we're going to have to cook it!"
"And don't forget to stress its Linguini-ness."
And a mushroom zapped by lightning creates a taste that's "lightningy".
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Subverted. The staff let Linguini be completely insane because he's a cooking genius. He's neither insane nor a cooking genius.
Caustic Critic: Anton Ego and he lampshades the hell out of it in his final review.
The Cavalry: Remy's family arriving to "man" the kitchen after the regular staff quit.
Django: "We're not cooks. But we are family. You tell us what to do, and we'll get it done."
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?
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 Linguine is trying to psyche him out. Skinner's lawyer notes that he had to take a second sample of Linguine's hair. When Skinner asks why, the lawyer says:
Lawyer: The first time, it came back identified as rodent hair.
Foil: 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.
Food Porn: Pixar took extra care to make sure the food was delicious-looking.
"One can get too familiar with vegetables, you know!" may qualify, depending on your level of guttermindedness while watching the film.
There's also the little bit after Linguini unbuttons his uniform to reveal Rémy's bite marks.
Linguini: I'm going to lose it if we do this anymore! We've got to figure out something else. Something that doesn't involve any biting, or nipping, or running up and down my body with your little rat feet.
Linguini and Rémy have pretty naughty mouths... As Rémy is biting Linguini you can catch the latter saying "Son of a—". During the car breakout scene you can hear Rémy saying "What the—".
When Linguini tries to confess to Colette about Rémy (until Rémy forces him to kiss her) he says something along the lines of "I have a little uhhh—". Cue Colette briefly glancing down, as though she thought he was referring to a different dirty little secret.
And there's the saucier, Lalo, who was fired from the circus for messing with the ringmaster's daughter.
There's the scene where Linguini slowly looks Colette up and down from behind, starting low, followed by Colette reciprocating.
It's hinted, rather blatantly, that Linguini is the illegitimate love child of Gusteau.
There's an extremely subtle one when Remy is in Gusteau's office and reading Renata's letter. Unless you have the subtitles on or can read French, then you'll miss this one.
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 Remy 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 it's star ratings. But while Remy and the other rats are preparing the food, a health inspector shows up unannounced and sees all the rats.
Imaginary Friend: The Gusteau who floats beside Remy when he wants or needs someone to talk to. Vanished for good when Remy realizes he doesn't need Gusteau anymore.
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!"
Large and in Charge: Subverted; Skinner is in charge of a restaurant where all of his employees are about twice his height. Then it's double subverted when you realize that his predecessor was Gusteau, who we could safely assume to have been the largest person in the room.
Also, Skinner (named after scientist B. F. Skinner, who performed experiments on rats to study animal behaviour) and Anton Ego.
"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.
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.
The Mockbuster: Video Brinquedo attempted to cash in on the success of this film with Ratatoing, a movie with a plot that was completely different (although infinitely more idiotic), but with a setting identical enough to be considered copyright infringement. Except instead of Paris it was, for Creator Provincialism reasons, Rio de Janeiro.
Motion Capture: Averted. In the credits there's a logo that says: "100% pure animation! No motion capture used!" (A bit of a Take That, perhaps.)
It's Pixar, this is a solemn oath of the staff.
Monumental View: Linguini's apartment has a magnificent view of the Eiffel tower. Seeing the tower is actually the first time he realises he lives in Paris.
Everyone except Linguini and the rats speak in French accents, save for a German and a Jamaican chef. Given his name, Linguini is probably Italian, but speaks with no such accent.
And Anton Ego, voiced by the very British, and very not-trying-to-hide-his-accent, Peter O'Toole. Though Ego could be British himself.
No Pronunciation Guide: Averted: Pixar assumed the name of the movie might be hard to pronounce, so all posters included a phonetic guide under the name: (rat-a-too-ee)
Oh Crap: 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.
Linguine 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 on 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!"
Roadside Wave: Happens to Skinner after being ousted from the restaurant.
Rousing Speech: 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.
Also 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 drawn 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 Remy 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.
Ego: "The bitter truth that we critics must face is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so."
Shown Their Work: 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.
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. Some real life chefs also have these, from accidentally touching hot pans while cooking.
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.
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.
So My Kids Can Watch: Patton Oswalt's standup routine is not only quite vulgar, but filled withobscure, nerdy references and not appropriate at all for kids. He has one routine about how, in the press tour for this movie, he had a lot of trouble being positive and friendly in front of his audience. Although the man does do quite a lot of voice-work for many other lower-profile kid-friendly projects, so it was probably more about the required constant promotion of the film.
His profane rant on Black Angus is what got him approached for the role; in addition to being really funny, Brad Bird liked the sound of Oswalt describing the food in his routine.
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 then Remy's considering his reactions. Even Remy 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 Remy'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.
Start My Own: After they lose Gusteau's restaurant thanks to health inspectors finding out about the rats. Remy, Linguini, and Colette start up their own restaurant, a small bistro with Ego as a main investor and Remy'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: Some have seen Skinner's use of Gusteau's imagery as just a wee bit of a dig by Pixar at their distributor? A derivative, uncreative sellout plastering the image of a beloved, deceased innovator all over his less-inspired creations and a whole slew of cheap, worthless products? Ring any bells? *
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Poor Remy 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 notices how dazed he looking and gives him a piece of cheese.
Title Drop: The eponymous dish has great significance in the movie's climax and the bistro that Remy, 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. 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.
Viewers Are Morons: 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.
Also, 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 Remy 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, Remy has his own restaurant.
You Dirty Rat: Averted. Literally and metaphorically since Remy's seen washing his hands, and even uses a Dish washer to wash loads of them when he asks for their help in cooking meals in the kitchen.
Played with when Skinner catches Linguini cooking he begins to call him something like "You dirty—," then notices Rémy and screams "RAT!"