Chefs comment on Ratatouille and Bourdain calls it The Best Food Movie Ever Made.

UPDATE: Bruni, the critic, weighs in on the The Critic.

Rataatouille
Last weekend Chef Pardus called me to say if I didn’t take my kids that very weekend to Ratatouille, I was a loser.  This from the same guy who called me a wuss because I didn’t want to drive 30 miles through a blizzard to make a bechamel sauce. I tend to listen to him.  He said, “Ratatouille gets it, it totally gets chef culture.”  The reason for his delight is first that chef culture is important to him and second that it’s almost never gotten right.  Spanglish is the perfect example of a movie’s not getting it right or even wanting to try–a fiasco.  Verdict is still out on the dubiously named No Reservations, remade from the excellent Mostly Martha (but even Zeta-Jones will not surpass Colette, the Ratatouille love interest, and surely the hottest line cook on film ever).

    Ratatouille does get the ethos of the kitchen and the strange strivings of the cook exactly right (mainly embodied and described by Colette).  There’s a single error that I can see, one noted in an email to me by bob del grosso: the little rat chef reveals himself as a talented cook not just by fixing a soup completely ruined by the main human character, Linguini, but by making it somehow ethereal.  An impossibility as any cook knows, especially as over salting appears to have been one of the problems.  But that single glitch aside, the movie is a paean to passionate cooking and a moving description of the professional kitchen.
Rat_3_2

    Bob wrote, “the movie was brilliant and so affective that I came away feeling like a schmuck that a rat could cook so much better than I.  I actually wept a bit during a scene when the evil food critic eats the rat’s (Keller’s I’ll bet) ratatouille”
    Indeed it’s a powerful scene and follows Keller’s main philosophy of cooking: that inspiration comes from connecting food with our past.  That’s the message when the food critic, brilliantly voiced by Peter O’Toole, has the dish of the movie’s title.  I haven’t talked to Keller about it, but it’s his dish—a version of the byaldi in The French Laundry Cookbook, a great recipe and technique, accessible to any home cook.
    Bourdain was sequestered in a darkened theater a couple years ago and grilled for insider dope on the cook’s life, for which he was paid a few hundred bucks.  He saw it last week:

    "I think it’s quite simply the best food movie ever made,” Tony wrote today in an email.  “The best restaurant movie ever made–the best chef movie.  The tiny details are astonishing: The faded burns on the cooks’ wrists. The "personal histories" of the cooks…the attention paid to the food…And the Anton Ego ratatouille epiphany hit me like a punch in the chest–literally breathtaking. I saw it in a theater entirely full with adults–and the reaction to that moment was what movie making was once–a long time ago–all about: Audible surprise, delight, awe and even a measure of enlightenment. I am hugely and disproportionately proud that my miniscule contribution (if any) early early in the project’s development led to a "thank you" in the credits.  Amazing how much they got "right."

    My favorite moment, and perhaps the most important moment of the film, is the critic’s embrace of the dish and the epiphany that even the critic’s finest work, cannot hold up to the worst trash by an artist.  This critic acknowledges, as so few do, that simply striving for art is harder, more courageous, more valuable, than all the efforts of the best critic working at the height of his or her powers.
Rat_4
    Maybe this is why the critic AO Scott, reviewing the movie for the NYTimes, claimed the movie delivered “one of the most persuasive portraits of the artist ever committed to film.”
    But the bottom line is this.  Ratatouille succeeds because it tells a true story, yes a portrait of the artist, but more important, to me anyway, the first movie ever to get the culture of the kitchen meaningfully and accurately into its story.

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76 Wonderful responses to “Kitchen Rats”

  • Rosie

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  • Gerald Fnord

    I’ll take issue with the critic’s take-away revelation: plenty of critics have done better work than plenty of artists. Pauline Kael’s reviews were often better than any of the movies she reviewed, better-crafted with more love and attention.

    Most food critics don’t write well enough to come near that bar, but some do, and I’ve had enough bad meals to know that they’ve done better.

    It’s a privileging of ‘the creative artist’ over the rational assessor that is characteristic of the worst of romanticism—many artists are crappy artists, and some critics are good writers.

  • antra jolly

    I have seen this movie and i like this movie a lot. I like to see it every time.
    _____________________
    antra
    Wide Circles

  • peter1900

    I do not seen the movie but seen some clips of the same. Its fantastic I will see this at the next time. Some clips are in youTube you see also.

    =====================
    peter
    Wide Circles

  • shrestha12

    Nice movie. But it gives me creep thinking of if that happened in my own kitchen.

    I don’t what these Pixar guys eats so that they gets theses brilliant ideas!
    ____________
    Pratul
    Wide Circles

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  • Blueshoots

    I enjoyed this movie thoroughly! The details were fantastic. One thing though…I still can’t get over the army of rats in the kitchen. Blueshoots is a specialist cookware shop, so it is our aim to bring you a wide selection of quality kitchen appliances and kitchen gadgets at online, affordable prices

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  • andrea

    Ha Ha I never thought of this movie from a chef or cooks view. I saw it as I have pet rats and the film makers got the rats so right with their actions. As for the thought of rats in the kitchen they are cleaner than most other animals and humans as far as germ carrying and if the sewer rats have germs where do they get the rubbish they get germs from!! But yes I can see your point the description of the food and how to make the dish and the delight of having it turn out a masterpiece for the chef is very much part of the film. Who would have thought that Disney would put chefs and rats together so masterfully.

  • gen

    i don’t wanna say too much since this is public, but i’m 17, a chef wannabe, and i was wondering if you (or anyone else reading this) could possibly give me some recommendations on culinary schools and other such stuff?
    i hope you can take some time to contact me: gen.pang@gmail.com

  • papi

    As some R & B singer once phrased it, Good God.

    The best freaking “food” movie ever made, was, is and remains ‘Babette’s Feast.’

    Remember, as serious as food and cooking may be — and what it’s all tied into, regarding a Nietzschean philosophy of past-as-present –in the end, it’s about the end: resulting in excrement, and related matter forever lining our colons, digestive tracts, and stomachs.

    Now, go over-romanticize chiterlins and sweetbreads, and pray that A-Rod hits #500 tonight.

  • bob Schaffer

    Let’s not forget that other animated culinary masterpiece, “French Rarebit” starring Bugs Bunny, where Bugs teaches two French chefs how to make “Louisiana Bayou Backbay Bunny Bourdelay, a la Antoine.” “You mean Antoine of New Orleans?” “I don’t mean Antoine of Flatbush!” Ahh, the golden memories.. They don’t make cartoons like that anymore, or cook dishes either.

  • Rashena

    I finally got a chance to see this last night and I was not disappointed at all. Having read these TERRIFIC comments a while back, I couldn’t wait to take my chef boyfriend! It was a complete surprise to him, for he hadn’t heard about it at all (he’s Indian and mainly watches his bizarre Tamil channels when he is at home). He grumbled over the fact that it was animated but that lasted only a second, for even the short before the film started was hilarious.

    We *loved* it and in this heat I wouldn’t mind seeing it again, I may do so tomorrow! Thanks for all the great reviews. He’s ALWAYS at work and so we try to do something special on his days off…dinner at Negril and then movie in Times Square made it one of the best dates we’ve had in a long time. We talked about it for an hour after we read this blog when we got home. :)

  • Bob delGrosso

    Claudia
    I think Gusteau was inspired by Bocuse, but certainly not a literal translation. Bocuse is not that user friendly, not as fat, and much more austere. The restaurant in the movie was almost certainly inspired by Paul Bocuse’s restaurant -at least the exterior.

  • Claudia

    Well, the NY press and chefs (Patricia Yeo of Sapa, etc.) have already put their 2 cents in on No Reservations:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/food/2007/07/20/2007-07-20_a_top_chef_dishes.html

    http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/food/2007/07/20/2007-07-20_getting_the_food_ready_for_its_closeup-2.html

    http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/food/2007/07/20/2007-07-20_recipes_from_no_reservations.html

    So, I guess we’ll see how a few more chefs weigh in on the movie. It would be nice if the producers hadn’t lifted the title from Tony’s show, but that’s Hollywood. Tony, I hope they paid you a “use of name” fee or something – or are giving you a little off the back end. (That’s movie money, people – not kinkiness! No “schizer” movie jokes, Skawt!)

  • Claudia

    I think having Jeanine Garofolo voice Colette was a stroke of brilliance. One wonders – was Gusteau supposed to be Bocuse? Or Keller? Was Colette “Grillbitch”? And Keller – doing a cameo as a voice of one of the customers. Just layers and layers or fun in-jokes, with Tony’s “pirate crew” reference from KC, and the line cooks’ hardcore bios – Horst doing time was a riot. “For what?” “We’re not sure.” Horst: “I defrauded a major corporation.” “I opened a hole in zah ozone layer.” “I robbed a bank – with a ballpoint pen.” And, of course: “I killed a man. With this.” (Extends thumb.) Non-foodie hubby was in hysterics.

    Although the pastry chefs are correctly identified as chefs de partie, when Colette started training Linguine, I thought I saw the pâtissières doing some line-cooking as well . . . I was cracking up too much to care.

  • Gilana

    Re: Collette being the only character who is fleshed-out, I found that not to be so. We see Remy being a cute rat, Remy being a hero, and Remy making mistakes. Additionally, we see Linguine who could have just been portrayed as a bumbling dip-stick, find his confidence, screw up, and come down to reality. And I loved Linguine’s reality, in that he realized that a restaurant needs chefs and cooks, but it damn sure needs a waiter. And heck, a waiter on roller skates gets the job done. Also loved Gusteau making sure Remy understood that the guy in the kitchen taking out the trash or sweeping up under the ovens is integral to success as well. Loved it…

  • gary

    I laughed out loud when, for only a second, it was revealed that the critic’s office was shaped like a coffin.

    As everyone feels it necessary to temper their enthusiasm for the film with a minor complaint, here’s mine: everything in the kitchen was “up to code” in terms of sanitation, such as having six inches of clearance between floor and shelves in the walk-in — yet the rats, even the least physically-fit rats, had no trouble at all climbing past that rodent-proofing obstacle.

    That is, indeed, a minor criticism of what was an amazingly accurate (and beautifully-rendered) portrayal of the world of the professional kitchen.

  • JoP

    I saw the film yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed it, bit wished there were even more kitchen scenes, less back story about Remy. The film is beautifully illustrated, a visual pleasure, and there were times when I became aware that the music was perfect for the scene.

    My favorite moments: when Remy, after being booted out by Linguini says “I’m going back…the restaurant will fail without me.” Dad or brother (can’t remember which) says “why are you going back.” Remy: “Because I’m a cook!!”

    And: the parchment cover while cooking the ratatouille. Ah, that has Chef Keller written all over it.

    jop

  • Gorilla Bob

    I agree that this film is possibly the best food movie I’ve seen, a totally satisfying experience. I was pleasantly surprised. When Ego tastes the dish and has the flashback, the whole audience was silent. Marvellous!

  • Greg Turner

    I saw Ratatouille the other night and thought it lovely. Having never worked in the kitchen, I can’t comment on the portrayal of chef culture, but I will say this: the use of dancing lights and musical elements to provide a visual and aural representation of marrying flavors was great. An excellent model for anyone wishing to describe anything as ethereal as tastes.

    And yes, the memory rush of comfort food was one of the best movie moments in recent memory.

  • John

    Bob DelG:

    For there to be any dramatic tension, SOMEONE has to the “The Bad Guy”. And for satisfying resolution, they have to be smart enough to be redeemable and redeemed.

    Who else would you have picked: the owner?

    And in all the kitchens that I have worked in, from the Sahara Tahoe to the corner bistro, critics have been held in simultaneous awe, fear and contempt.

    Thus, the resonance to the chefs and cooks among us.

    While I agree that it is over the top, it is the stereotypical or archytipal(sp?) that is most easily recognizable. And, admittedly unfair. But I suspect that the writers do not hate critics (at least, not FOOD critics) but picked low-hanging fruit.

    John

  • cicolini

    What’s the competition for the best food movie? Big Night? (Which, kitchen sentimentalist I am I rent for the opening and closing sequence alone).

    I spent my pre-adolescence in scullery slavery scrubbing ratatouille from individual manicotti dishes, welded cheese and tomato and ceramic. The recipe, the smell, the taste are burned into my hindbrain (a different, not unequal memory to the film’s critic.)

    But for Bird’s film Ratatouille I would go further and say it may be the most complicated film ever made. The amount and level of detail is hard to fathom. It’s quite unique, completely playful, mature, in control, elegant, informative. When the rat Remy looks out over Paris for the first time, I leaned over to my ten year old and said, that’s just what Paris looks like. He told me to keep quiet.

  • Claudia

    Bob D -

    While food critics in the States go incognito, food crits in Britain, for instance, do not – and their critiques include a lot of social chitchat/gossip, chat about ambiance, who’s been seen in, etc. – not strictly about the food. They are more in keeping with, say, Samuel Pepys as social diarist or reviews a la The Tatler (yes, that’s how they spell it) than the black ops secrecy employed by, say, the NY Times food crits to try and maintain the unbiased integrity of the their reviewing. (Which is why Gordon Ramsay, for instance, would know people like Gill on sight in order to be able to throw him out of his restuarant, or was pals with that other Brit crit on the F Word). Not quite as feared and revered as critics in NY . . .

  • E. Nassar

    Whew…glad it was not just me who was moved (I’m talking watery eyes and a slight choke…that almost never happens!) by the scene when ego was presented with the perfect ratatouille the one dish that brought back a connection to his childhood and past. Brilliant.
    I also agree about the details. Those stoves are just fantastic.
    I’m guessing Batali had nothing to do with this movie though or he would not have let them name the non-cook Linguini LOL.

  • seijikat

    totally off topic, but when worlds collide… i love ruhlman and i love lolcats and the first thing that came to mind when seeing this image tonight was “alinea”

    we need a bourdaincat.

  • c_rdz

    Did you guys laugh a little when Collette gave Linguini hell for not keeping his station clean?
    Even though Im not a cook, in fact, I dont cook at all…still, thanks to Chef Bourdain I have to maintain my kitchen clean and ordered all the time.
    by the way…greetings from Mexico!

  • Chicago Karen

    Went on the 4th and completely enjoyed the movie. The kitchen was gorgeous. I went on the Ratatouille web site and under fun facts came across this bit of info..

    The filmmakers created over 270 pieces of food in the computer. Every food item was prepared and styled in a real kitchen, then photographed for reference and eaten.

    I grinned with the beautiful cut leeks.

    The scene in front of the Paris rat exterminator store front reminded me of the No Reservations Paris episode Why the French don’t suck. Tony being brilliant with some fun towards Rocco Dispirito, rat-ta-tuille, rats-a-roni, ratsalicious…

    Tony, any suggestion from you with that scene in Ratatouille?

    Michael, very much enjoyed your books and appreciate this special blog.

  • tedm

    Re: chef in training : I didn’t work directly with Thomas Keller, but Pixar sent a team to his home to document the making of the Byaldi. I was given the footage to watch as reference (around an hour or so) for when I storyboarded Remy making the dish.

    During one of Thomas’ visits to the studio he passed by my office and I saw him stop and take a look at our wall of caricatures. Exciting!

  • Don't Get It

    Maybe it was too many rave reviews, but I went with my 9-year old daughter and we were both, well, bored. Okay, yes, they got some of the kitchen details right (and made almost as many errors), but are our standards so low that that’s enough to warrant tears and adulation?

    The storyline was predictable and ran way too long and, with the single exception of Colette, the characters were one-dimensional.

    Sorry, but sitting through two hours of animated rats wasn’t worth it just to see that some moviemakers figured out food connects with our memories.

  • Lisse

    I was hoping somebody over here would have something to say about this movie. I’m encouraged by all the high marks. Normally we’re a wait-till-video family, but maybe we’ll take the kids to see it this weekend. It’s nice to know, from people who know, that what we are looking it is accurate.

  • Pete G

    Great post. I took my 3 year old daughter to see on opening weekend, Saturday night. I teared up at the flashback to his childhood as well. My mom couldn’t / didn’t cook. But it is something my daughter and I do together (she has mastered Saturday morning pancakes) and I only hope that when she is older she will taste something that takes her back to our days together in the kitchen. Great movie…

  • clarkehead

    The movie is great in every way – story, voice work, animation, etc,. If anyone has reservations about it because it’s A) a cartoon, or B) a cartoon about a rat – toss them aside and see it anyway. It’s the movie passionate foodies have been waiting for. And I can only hope it inspires children to want to learn more about cooking, and eating restaurant-quality food at home.

  • CarolinaGirl

    Going to see it today. The heat index is supposed to be 110, and I can deal with a theater of kids better than I can deal with the heat. Cannot wait!

  • Cathryn

    Oh, thank goodness. I cry easily at movies and I don’t mind admitting it, but I felt like a bit of a tool for welling up when Ego tried the ratatouille. I should have known that I wouldn’t be the only one. It is, as someone said above, just such a powerful moment, and the sound and camera techniques used emphasize it so beautifully – it’s a “punch in the chest,” as Bourdain said, to viewers *because* it’s a punch in the chest for Ego, a moment of total shock where his sneering disdain is instantly destroyed by the intense sensory memory throwing him back to his childhood. That one moment says more about the power of good food than the rest of the movie combined, and it does it without dropping anvils on our heads. I loved it, and I no longer feel silly at all about the tears that came to my eyes.

    I didn’t catch Bourdain’s name in the credits, but I should have known. I’ve never worked in a kitchen, but that kitchen reminded me so much of “Kitchen Confidential” (right down to Colette, the PG-movie version of the “grill bitch”), that I had to laugh, and I felt much more confident of the movie’s authenticity. I wouldn’t have enjoyed the movie half as much if I’d gotten the impression that the kitchen was all glossed up and movie precious. I didn’t think much of the plot, but the details really sold me.

  • Bob delGrosso

    Michael
    I failed to note in my post on this wonderful movie that there is another error in the that bugs me a bit, but not much. The food critic is an anachronism that appears to be modeled in part on 19th century food critics like Curonsky, who made a point of letting the restaurateur and the public know who they were.
    No modern food critic of any consequence would do this.
    The portrayal of Anton Ego bothers me a bit because I do not share the screenwriter’s apparent strong distaste for food critics. Why some of them I even respect, especially the Michelin team, Craig Claiborne, Mimi Sheraton, Ruth Reichel, Raymond Sokolov et al.

  • Pat

    I agree with Ruhlman, as usual. It is a great movie and one I am sure I will see again and again. It was inspiring, not just to an amateur cook such as myself, but for any profession or trade. Mediocrity does not do.

  • Pat

    I agree with Ruhlman, as usual. It is a great movie and one I am sure I will see again and again. It was inspiring, not just to an amateur cook such as myself, but for any profession or trade. Mediocrity does not do.

  • chef in training

    tedm, thank you for helping make a truly wonderful and enjoyable film. Did you get a chance to work with Chef Keller at all during the process?

  • frances

    I wanted to hop on the bandwagon — Ratatouille was an amazing movie from so many different perspectives. Although I have no experience in a commercial kitchen, I could relate to all the the foodie moments. It ranks up there with Tampopo, Babette’s Feast (what? nobody has mentioned this one yet?!?) and Big Night as a must-watch for food fanatics.

  • Paul B

    I’m glad to read that I was not the only one who got a lump in the throat and a tear in the eye when the critic had his flashback. It was a beautiful movie moment.

  • ruhlman

    mimi, you’ve opened up the chef as artist can of worms. (did you see this post: http://blog.ruhlman.com/ruhlmancom/2007/06/professional_ch_1.html?).

    I’m on your team in this issue, and the point about practicality is a critical issue. thanks.

    french laundry at home: have you made the guinea fowl with byaldi?

    tedm: an ARTIST! Thanks for the comment but thanks more for the work. You and your team should be very proud!

    ephie, good catch, I remember thinking, hm? what’s the stomach for? but by then i was too engrossed (and impressed by the film makers’ getting it right) to care.

    jason, agreed big night is a great film, but food is secondary. in ratatouille, cooking is the main character.

  • Gailsie

    Agree with Bonnibella. When Collette starts describing the mysterious, pirate life of a chef, my husband and I simultaneously hissed to each other “Hey,Tony Bourdain/Kitchen Confidential!” Missed his name in the credits, though.

  • Jason Perlow

    I have problems with calling it the best chef movie or best restaurant movie. I think it was a great animated film, which I think touches on and parodies many aspects of restaurant media, the personalities in that industry, and the pitfalls of the whole celebrity chef phenomenon. The computer graphics are incredibly detailed, I particularly loved the textures and colors of everything, and how realistic the food looked.

    But my vote for best restaurant movie has to go to Big Night, hands down. No rat can ever beat Tony Shaloub’s and Stanley Tucci’s performances in that film.

  • Marvin

    Going in, I wasn’t expecting much from this movie since it was “just” a cartoon. I was greatly, and pleasantly, surprised at how great a movie this was. The scene with Ego tasting the Ratatouille for the first time was brilliant and hit home.

  • Ephie

    I thought the movie was fantastic for all the reasons previously mentioned (truth be told, I’ve seen it twice). However, for all of the attention paid to the details, I was surprised at one flaw. When Skinner attempts to trip up Linguini by having him prepare a Gusteau sweetbread recipe that Gusteau himself thought was flawed, one of the chefs yells out “prepare the veal stomachs!” Obviously in a kitchen they would have just said sweetbreads, but if the writers wanted to get across to the audience what sweetbreads are, the stomach is not it. Perhaps they thought “prepare the veal thymus” or “prepare the veal pancreas” did not sound as good. Maybe they were thrown by the fact that pancreas sweetbreads are sometimes called the stomach sweetbread, although I rarely see it called that.
    Well, I am just being picky, the movie was great.

  • bill p

    Re: Bourdain… Best Restaurant Movie? Sure. Best chef movie? Probably? Best food movie? No way. That title goes to Tampopo. That is a film made by someone who is clearly, 100% in love with food. Every second is about food.

    Ratatouille is a great movie about resisting mediocrity and an artist following his dream. That that art form is cooking, and Pixar and Brad Bird cared enough not to dumb it down, getting the details right.

    It’s the best movie I’ve seen this year. But it’s not the best food movie ever. Tampopo is out of print on DVD but Netflix has it if you’ve never seen it.

  • tedm

    As an artist who spent 3 1/2 years working on Ratatouille, I can’t express how happy I am to read the comments here about the film. I love to cook as well, so working on an animated film about it was like a dream to me – everyone did their homework (as they do with all Pixar films) to make sure that it was done right, and to get confirmation from Mr. Ruhlman, Mr. Bourdain, and others who have experienced the culinary world first hand makes me very proud.

  • Mimi Sheraton

    Re: Bourdain’s comment with which I completely agree except for this: Cooks and chefs are not artists although they may be artful and employ artistry. True art is its own excuse for being with no concern for function. Cooking has to fulfill a function..producing something edible and, with luck, somewhat nourishing. This even though I have referred to it as a performing art…a feat rendered according to a plan (script, score, choreograph, libretto, recipe) that has to be re-created each time it is to be experienced.

  • uberangie

    not that we are talking about the new movie no reservations, but does anyone else think that having catherine zeta-jones in the martha role, let alone an “american” version of this movie, completely miss the point of mostly martha?

  • Sorcha

    C’mon people, give the rats a break. (Says the owner of a pet rat.)

    Natalie, that book made me bawl when I read it. I wasn’t sure I could handle actually owning it. *G*

  • Melly Testa

    I was hoping you would go and see this movie! Thank you so much for posting about it! We just came home from watching it and I felt like it was a validation of the scenes you created in the Making of a Chef (which I just finished reading this morning)!!
    Today was such a food day for us! We went to the local farmers market, watched this movie and I finished another of you books. Yum.

  • French Laundry at Home

    Am seeing Ratatouille Tuesday night — cannot wait. The neighborhood kids who come over to eat my FLAH dishes are taking me as a “thank you” for cooking for them. So sweet.

    I saw a screener of “No Reservations.” If you’re an Aaron Eckhart fan, then see it because he’s the only thing I can stretch to say something positive about. If not, don’t bother. I thought it was awful. CZJ sounds like she’s had a stroke when she speaks, the acting was terrible, and the storyline totally butchered. Blech.

  • bonnibella

    I saw the film a couple of days after it opened while I was in Tucson. I took my two nephews, ages 3 and 5, along with me…and they were almost as taken with it as I was. I also loved Colette’s discourse on how hard it is to be a woman in the kitchen. Great characterization.

  • Lori Skelton

    Saw the movie yesterday with my beau and my two best friends (who happen to be married to each other). We deliberately made the movie the centerpiece of a day that started with ribs smoked on my backyard grill and ended with an “everybody make their own pizza” jam session in the friends’ spacious kitchen; one big, happy celebration of food and creativity. I’ve been a Pixar fan since the late ’80′s and this is a gem on all counts: story, characters, CGI prowess, true-to-life details…I will be recommending it to everyone.

    I assumed that Mr. Bourdain got the thank you for Colette’s observation that everyone in the kitchen was a “pirate.” I applauded that one!

  • FoodPuta

    Just as I suspected. The reason Bourdain relates with this movie so much, is that Tony cooked with a rat shoved down his pants as well.
    ;)

    BTW: I loved this movie!

  • veron

    I thoroughly enjoyed this movie! Details were fantastic. One thing though…I still can’t get over the army of rats in the kitchen…

    Can’t wait for Zeta Jones , No Reservations…

  • Tana

    It would have been perfect if the two main voices (Remy and Lingini) didn’t sound just like the two biggest sadsacks in Hollywood: Paul Giamatti and David Schwimmer. Other than that, the attention to details—the textiles, the food textures, everything—was breathtaking.

  • Sorcha

    This movie is next on my list to see, and I’ve been thrilled by the reviews.

    Natalie, I have to admit that I don’t own Love You Forever. But I’ve read it. *G*

  • Natalie Sztern

    well, if pixar is smart, they will release Ratatouille in dvd sooner than later, because this is a movie that people will want to own and see. There are few movies made in our culture today that warrant a place in libraries, this is one of them.

    then, on ur way out the store go and buy munsch’s-it too is timeless.

    and of course any of michael ruhlman’s books-i hear he is not a bad writer?

  • Natalie Sztern

    Like every parent owns the book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, so will every cook own Ratatouille by Pixar.

    It is a movie that should open every new school year for any aspiring chef.

  • Patty C.

    My father came up for a visit and took all the grandkids and parents out to the movies and it was unanimous that this was the pick of the night. Once we were settled in, I’m so glad. I’d been wanting to see this for quite some time, as well as my daughter. She just loves any CGI/Animated movie from Pixar. Me, it was about a cook following his dream, even if it was a rat. LOL The movie was whimsical, adorable, and grabs you by the heart. We all loved it. It’s a great movie for all ages, but most importantly if you love cooking, I’d highly recommend it. (Keep up the great blog!)

  • Chef Debbi

    Loved the movie but all those rats in the kitchen gave me the creeps….

  • Mykl

    Hey Mike. Big fan. Read all your stinkin books. I got a chance to see a sneak preview of Ratatouille 3 weeks ago and fell in love with it too. Much like a chef putting together a dish, their knife skills were dead on, the flavor layered, and most importantly I can feel the soul in their creation. I too, got choked up a few times – especially when Remy ran back to the kitchen and (when asked why) yelled out “because I’m a COOK!!” *tear* Yes. Everyone CAN cook, but not everyone are “cooks.”

  • Candace

    I couldn’t agree more. It was a beautiful piece of art and they got the details right. I keep rhapsodizing about it to friends who aren’t cooks but I’m afraid they aren’t going to get the same feeling I had, especially at the food critic’s flashback. That brought me and my husband to tears.

  • grace

    Some in my circle of friends don’t understand my complete obsession and rapturousness (word?) over the sight, smell and taste of food, as well as the opportunity to try something new, if only to experience the profound. When I saw the movie, all I could think was, “that’s it, everything.” From the first moment Remy’s eyes widen at the sight of food that was beautiful, that movie had me, and I was carried with Remy and his plight for two full hours.