Ratatouille – Truly Moving Picture

I saw this film on June 15th, 2007 in Indianapolis. I am one of the judges for the Heartland Film Festival’s Truly Moving Picture Award. A Truly Moving Picture “…explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life.” Heartland gave that award to this film.

Pixar has an incredible streak of commercial and artistic animation successes. This is their 8th in a row, and their riskiest. Toys and cars and bugs and fish and monsters and superheroes are easier to make endearing than a RAT. But, PIXAR pulls it off. This is a story of a French rat, Remy, who dreams to be more. Instead of eating garbage like his family and friends, he aspires to create great food like his hero Gusteau. Gusteau is a famous chef and cooking writer and television cooking star and restaurant owner. Gusteau’s motto is “Anyone Can Cook.” The bad news is Gusteau dies, but the good news is he comes back as a ghost or a figment of the rat’s imagination to aid our rat in his dreams. The rat arrives at Gusteau’s restaurant and uses the body of a lowly garbage boy to follow the rat’s instructions and to create great food. The rat even moves in with the garbage boy. The animation is stunningly good. PIXAR has made the animation more detailed and more nuanced for every one of their succeeding films and this tradition continues. You learn about cooking and your mouth waters throughout the film. The Ratatouille, a French vegetable stew, can be tasted and smelled in the theater. By the way, the “Rat” in Ratatouille has nothing to do with a “rat.” Remy is inspiring. Here is a character that will not settle on his expected life, but strives for greatness and to add to the world. And he will not give up or be discouraged. The ugly(?) rat becomes beautiful.

FYI – There is a Truly Moving Pictures web site where there is a listing of past Truly Moving Picture Award winners that are now either at the theater or available on video.

To see all my reviews of Truly Moving Pictures, go to this site.

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