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"Ratatouille" got me all choked up.

I expected this movie to be great, but never did I expect it to affect me the way it did.

<WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW>

I actually got teary eyed during two scenes. And I never get emotional in movies.

The first was early on, when Remy explains how different flavors elicit different sensations and the screen goes black while dazzling curls of color and light dance to show his delight. When he combines two ingredients in his mouth, a crescendo of colors and shapes erupts.

It's synesthesia with food! What a brilliant way to show how foodies think!

The other scene that got to me in a very profound way was when the critic tasted the ratatouille. There's a zoom cut to a flashback scene where we see the critic as a child at his mother's kitchen door. Then it cuts back to the critic, as his pen drops in slow motion.

What a beautifully executed scene. One that still resonates the more I think about it (am I the only one?).

This movie is the movie for Chowhounds and foodies alike. It verifies our passion and celebrates why we do what we do. This movie gets us.

By the way, Thomas Keller and Anthony Bourdain are listed in the credits, and Thomas Keller himself lends his voice to one of the characters.

See this movie.

http://elmomonster.blogspot.com

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  1. Great, moving review. Can't wait to see the movie.

    But you mention "Chowhounds and foodies alike." What's the distinction between them?

    4 Replies
    1. re: chicgail

      Well, to me they are one and the same. But there are some that will say that Chowhounds are more hard-core, who set the trends rather than follow them.

      I make no distinction: To me a person who loves food is a person who loves food. Labels are just for pride.

      http://elmomonster.blogspot.com

      1. re: chicgail

        just saw the movie today! Loved it. If you can get past the rats in the kitchen, you will also enjoy it. It is very heartwarming. The critic character was so nasty. I have been exposed to nasty critics before and so could relate to his negative persona.

        I think the message is that food speaks to us in different ways and we should enjoy food!

        1. re: chicgail

          Jim Leff thinks "foodie" is an insult.

          http://www.chowhound.com/faq

          Scroll down to "What is a Chowhound?"

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Gottcha!

            "A Chowhound is someone who spends nearly every waking moment planning her or his next meal. Whether eating in a white-tablecloth restaurant or grabbing takeout on the way to work, Chowhounds hate to ingest anything undelicious. They won't hesitate to go far, far out of their way for even slightly better."

            That definitely makes me a chowhound. Thanks for clearing it up!

        2. I can't wait to see this movie--what does Anthony Bourdain do in the movie??I hear there is a great spot about croissants!

          4 Replies
          1. re: marlie202

            I don't think Bourdain did too much other than consult (don't quote me on this though) -- his name was mentioned in the "Special Thanks" section. Although there is one scene where a character explains that every cook in the kitchen has a sordid history beyond their white chef's coats. This harkens to Anthony Bourdain's own Kitchen Confidential, where each cook he meets has a weird, sometimes disturbing, but always interesting, backstory.

            http://elmomonster.blogspot.com

            1. re: elmomonster

              I read in the LA times that Thomas Keller was used as a consultant for accuracy.

              1. re: cdmedici

                Noticed the name Guy Savoy ( Michelin 3 stars ) and La Tour d'Argent also being mentioned in a acknowledgement. Wonder what their role is considering there's already Keller and Bourdain? Was La Tour d'Argent's sommelier the consultation in chosing the 1947 Cheval Blanc, the 1961 Latour and the unknown vintage Lafite in the movie? A first growth Bordeaux to pair with ratatouille! How interesting?!!!!

                1. re: Charles Yu

                  Guy Savoy voiced Thomas Keller's role in the French language version.

          2. No, you are not the only one. Just saw it last night and have been thinking about that scene on and off all day.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Hapafish

              Oh good! I'm not a freak then.

              This movie is going in my library (when it comes out on DVD). Along with Tampopo, Babette's Feast, and others.

              http://elmomonster.blogspot.com

              1. re: elmomonster

                Absolutely agree with the strength of the 'Proust's madeline' moment, it was gorgeously done, and moved me to tears! And then, the whole of the movie drove me to the grocery store and home to cook and cook and cook......

            2. I loved this movie, too. I do feel slightly guilty in a way, since the film is supposed to appeal to both kids and adults. I heard a few kids in the audience voice a little bit of "what's that, mommy?" when a joke would come up which can appeal only to the adult foodie. <SPOILER ALERT> I was also moved by the critic's epiphany in the restaurant and subsequently by the review we hear during the critic's subsequent soliloquy as he pears out of his window late in the evening. I wonder if anyone out there knows whether that soliloquy was written by a food critic? It sounds very well like it could be. It just doesn't sound very Disney-esque, but more like something Ruth Reichl may have contributed to the movie in secret.

              1. Thomas Keller is the voice of the restaurant patron who asks for something NEW--"I know all about the old foie gras fall back, but what do you have that's new?" This sparks the whole "Linguini" sweetbread special. Very cool.

                1. No, you're not the only one. I didn't get "choked up" per se, but those two scenes were wonderful. I loved how they visually depicted taste sensation w/ the psychedelic colors and music. The sudden childhood flashback was also moving. Anton Ego was a great character.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Carb Lover

                    Outstanding voice acting by the master himelf, Peter O'Toole. Too bad there is no oscar for voice acting...that I know of.

                  2. I absolutely loved the scene where Remy "sees" the different flavors and how they go together. Has anyone seen a picture of this online anywhere?

                      1. I appreciate foodies who LOVE this movie, but I have to say I just LIKED it. It was entertaining and I liked seeing the behind-the-scenes kitchen antics, but overall it wasn't the best of Pixar's collection of movies. It didn't have as much of the fun humor and wink-wink pop culture references like Toy Story or The Incredibles (just the second half) and didn't have the silliness that is Ellen Degeneres in Finding Nemo.

                        I think a lot of foodies have romanticized this animated film because there are so few good food movies out there right now. (If you still haven't seen Waitress, then there's a good food movie that's hilarious and showcases cooking.) I thought Ratatouille was a good film, but not the best all-time food movie like I saw one ad claim.

                        BTW, I could get past one cute rat cooking in the kitchen but I couldn't get past the scenes of entire armies of rats in the kitchen. SPOILER: I think my favorite moment was when the female chef walks into the kitchen late in the movie and sees all the rats in the kitchen and nearly throws up in her mouth. That's exactly how I was feeling! Thought it was fun that the producers captured that human reaction so well.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: singleguychef

                          MORE SPOILER:

                          But what you know that she doesn't is that they went through the dishwasher!!! (In one of, I think, the funniest scenes in the movie. Also appreciated when Remy first cooks, that he swings down the brass knob to wash his hands.

                          1. re: dagoose

                            I think that was the funniest part too. The rats come out all fluffy!

                          2. re: singleguychef

                            Ugh, thank god for the lack of wink wink pop culture references.

                            1. re: singleguychef

                              It's like you're reading my mind. Thought the movie was better than Incredibles (which was a tad too cliche for me, with too many pop references) but not as good as Nemo. The chowish parts were defnitely more fun for me than for my little one, but we both still enjoyed the movie.

                              But the scene with all of the rats in the kitchen - I don't care how clean they were, they could never be clean enough for me not to be grossed out.

                              1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                                you know, it occurs to me that the rats in the kitchen scene may also help with its appeal to at least some of the little kids in the audience...

                              2. re: singleguychef

                                i agree. i'm also not really a fan of Pixar - i mean, don't get me wrong. this type of animation is beautiful when it comes to the scenery and the food - i can appreciate the work that went into it. but i don't like the way the characters look. they seem to go for hyperrealism but only achieve something creepy. i also don't like the humor - why must all kids' movies sound like affected clever fast-talking too-hip sit-coms? the movie was fine, as far as the story went, and by the way, i loved the rat scenes in the kitchen, especially the rats taking a bath in the dishwasher. but a good food movie? How about Big Night? and someone mentioned Tampopo and Babette's Feast. THOSE are good foodie movies. i'm sorry to sound cynical, but to me this was a way for Disney to capitalize on the foodie craze as it is being marketed to children. not that i have a problem with a whole new generation of people who love food, but i want it to be about the food, and not Food Network.

                                anyway,

                                1. re: singleguychef

                                  I am totally with you on the rat army in the kitchen! One rat, I can deal with. Hundreds swarming over the food? Big-time ick factor!

                                2. I saw this last night with my husband and it was delightful. I liked when Remy was getting SO outraged at Linguini's bumbling with the soup that he risks his life to save it, saying beforehand (and this is quoted in the New York Times article): Anyone can cook? Yes, but that doesn't mean anyone SHOULD.

                                  Well put.

                                  I also loved when he was so inspired by the mushroom he found that he NEEDS to rummage through the spices to find saffron. Great stuff.

                                  1. I thought I was the only one...teary eyed yes but mainly because I just couldn't believe how much I was enjoying it. Like you I was so happy about how, as you say, "the movie gets us." Not everyone does. People who are close to me appreciate it and love it when I say "I'm cooking" but they don't fully get it you know? It was wonderful to see all the thought that went into it. Many say it dragged a little or that it was just ok, but to me it wasn't so much the plot or the lines or anything else, it was about it telling the story of a foodie (or a chow or whatever you like calling yourself ;-)). Thanks for the post!

                                    1. We just saw Ratatouille and the minutes of the critic's flashback may be the best two minutes on film this decade.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: shallots

                                        I loved the part when everybody abandoned the kitchen and Remy called in the family to work and they sanitized themselves before prepping and cooking.

                                        1. re: shallots

                                          I agree I agree! I shed real tears of joy for that scene, the visceral tenderness of it and the truth of it! *That's* what food does to those of us who love food.

                                          Ego also has the line that cracked only me up in the theater full of slightly understimulated kids (much higher-brow humour than they've become trained to enjoy--farts, puking aliens, etc...): "I don't *like* food; I *love* food. If I don't LOVE it I DON'T SWALLOW."

                                        2. I saw Ratatouille today--it was sweet and wonderful and full of realism about the hieriarchy in the kitchen. I make ratatouille and did not know it was peasant food-yum--ca me plait beaucoup. Vive Remy.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: marlie202

                                            The scene that got me was when Remy made an omelet for Linguini and then made a teeny omelet for himself, too. So sweet. But I do want to know, was there any reason that Linguini wore roller skates while serving? That didn't seem to jibe with the film's attempts at realism (cooking rats notwithstanding).

                                            1. re: ctscorp

                                              I think the skates were simply a device to help him get around the room quickly enough to serve without help (after all, as reactions on this board indicate, you can't very well have the rats serve), and also helped to show that Linguini really wasn't more than a kid himself....

                                              1. re: ctscorp

                                                greetings, I believe there's a famous scene in a Chaplin film in which he waits on tables via that mode. So my guess, an homage/riff to Chaplin. Weren't there references to movie westerns in the film Tampopo? cheers

                                            2. I absolutely loved the scene that flashed back to the critic's childhood. It was so beautifully done, and so perfect to show how food shapes us...and how smells and tastes can take us back to another time, another world, and touch our souls so deeply.
                                              One of the best scenes in the film, if not *the* best.