Ratatouille’s Hidden Message About Life

   What divides the world? Status, wealth, race? Let me take you to a society where none of it matters. Where creatures of every status, every class, and every creed coincide in beautiful harmony. This utopian society is found in none other than Pixar’s “Ratatouille”. And what lies in the plot, is quite possibly the blueprint to becoming better human beings.

   At its core, “Ratatouille” entertains one foundational question: Should we as a people choose ignorance or empathy? In the film, rats are stigmatized to only be troublemakers, and humans to only be killers. But, Remy the rat makes a different choice. Freed from his human entrapment, Remy decides not to flee, but stays to help the bumbling Chef Linguini. In life, it is easier to flee from our issues and not contest the biases we are born with. But if we take a moment to question those barriers that divide us, in search of genuine connection, we often become better people because of it. Because whether you are traversing the slippery slope of race and politics, or aspiring  to be the greatest rodent who ever cooked, take a page from Remy’s book. Instead of scurrying back to the prejudiced sewers below, openly immerse yourself in different ideas and cultures with an open-mind. Maybe you’ll find something new and magnificent, and maybe you won’t. But if you never try to throw some new ingredients in the soup before you leave, you may never find out.

In cooking, diversity brings new favors; it is what makes a dish great. In the real world, we often struggle to realize this. We often struggle to realize that our different flavors make us a better dish overall.

   The art of cooking, at its best, is a perfect blend of different classes and cultures. It is free of prejudice. In cooking, diversity brings new favors; it is what makes a dish great. In the real world, we often struggle to realize this. We often struggle to realize that our different flavors make us a better dish overall. However, the leading culinary duo of “Ratatouille” accepts this concept with open arms. A major motif in the film is customers wanting something different, something off-the-menu. It is these new dishes, not the bland presets of before, that send the customers home with full-stomachs and broader perspectives. Even the famous Ratatouille dish, that satisfies the unsatisfiable critic Anton Ego is not a meal that meets the restaurant’s exclusive standard. Contrarily, Ratatouille is a dish enjoyed by peasants from all-over rural France. It could be a new flavor, a new dish, or a new friend. But regardless, the film foreshadows the wonderful outcomes that come with being open-minded and curiously indulgent.

   Now you could completely argue that I am drastically over-analyzing a children’s movie, and maybe I am; but I believe that “Ratatouille” is a test, for all ages, designed to make us better people. Because if you can believe me just for a second, believe that this fictional children’s tale is actually something more than what meets the eye, then I believe “Ratatouille” has fulfilled its purpose. Because if any ounce of you can go against your preconceived notions about the simple Pixar movie and discover a new perspective, what stops us from doing that in life? What stops us from finding meaning in other cultures and worth in other people? Critic Anton Ego aptly reasons at the end of the movie, that a magnificent artist can originate from anywhere. Because if “Ratatouille” shows us anything, it is this: the only bad dish is the one that chooses to stay bland. But a dish that challenges its flavors, and experiments with new seasonings, is no longer a dish, but a masterpiece.