Ratatouille – Eat Better

Thematic Reflection

Pixar’s Ratatouille is a movie that gets better with each viewing, because it helps us understand the various sides of our identities—as artists, as critics, and most importantly, as a member of a family, a greater community, and the world.

To the artist, the film says, “Create! Struggle! Know that everyone is not going to understand your drive, but work anyway. Highlight the beauty that you see in the world and work to share it with others. Create for love, not for money, and let your love be for your loved ones, not for yourself. Your art-making is for your audience, that they might become better rats – I mean – better human beings.”

To the critic, the film says, “Don’t destroy. Build up. Your job is to point to what is wonderful in the world. If anything is good, excellent, praiseworthy, think on such things and tell others about them. Always keep in mind your first love, and don’t become so full of yourself that you have no room to be amazed, enlightened, transformed Invite others to experience that same transformation.”

To the citizen, the film says, “Be open to experiencing something new. Try things. Taste things. Allow the artists and critics who have devoted their lives to discovering beauty to share what they discover with you. Sure, artists are odd, but when something is odd, it is different, and it therefore has the potential to be enlivening in a way that the monotony of daily life is not. Support artists. Be daring. Welcome more beauty into your life.”

Ratatouille is about the coming of age of an artist, which is not necessarily a universal theme. Its narrower focus speaks to the relative unpopularity of this film. In fact, it is Pixar’s least highest grossing film next to Cars 2. Had the movie focused more on Remy and his family and less on the other subplots involving Linguini, Skinner, and Ego, it would have become a film about how an audience can learn to appreciate good artistry. Everyone in the theater is Remy’s family. Not everyone is Remy. To paraphrase the film, anyone can cook, but not everyone. However, everyone eats, and we could all learn to eat better.

Key Scenes

Clip 1

Clip 2

Discussion Questions

For Adults

Watch Clip 1.

1) What is your passion in life—that one thing that defines who you are and how you see the world?
2) With whom do you share this passion? What do you risk by sharing your passions?
3) In what ways do you help others see beauty in the world?

Watch Clip 2, and read Philippians 4:4-9.

1) As you interact with the passions of others, are you a critic that builds up or tears down?
2) In your pursuit of truth, are your criticisms also gentle? Why or why not?
3) Does our faith community make room for the artist and critic? Why or why not? 

For Families

Watch Clip 1.

1) What is your passion in life—that one thing that defines who you are and how you see the world?
2) Do you share this passion with anyone in our family? What do you risk by sharing your passions with others?
3) Does our family help others see beauty in the world?

Watch Clip 2, and read Philippians 4:4-9.

1) As you interact with other members of your family, are you a critic that builds up or tears down?
2) In your pursuit of truth, are your criticisms also gentle? Why or why not?
3) Does our family make room for everyone’s passions? Why or why not? 

For Students

Watch Clip 1.

1) What is your passion in life—that one thing that defines who you are and how you see the world?
2) With whom do you share this passion? What do you risk by sharing your passions?
3) In what ways do you help others see beauty in the world?

Watch Clip 2, and read Philippians 4:4-9.

1) As you interact with others, are you a critic that builds up or tears down?
2) Are your criticisms also gentle? Why or why not?
3) Does our community make room for everyone’s passions? Why or why not? 

For Children

Watch Clip 1.

1) Is there anything you love to do as much as Remy loves to cook?
2) Do you ever do this with other people? Who?
3) Do you love to do something that other people might think is weird or different?

Watch Clip 2, and read Philippians 4:4-9.

1) How do you show other people that you appreciate the things they do or make?
2) Has anyone ever shown appreciation for something you created? How did they do that?
3) Why is it important to think about things that are “pure, lovely, commendable, and true?”


Related Scriptures

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice! Let everyone see your gentleness. The Lord is near! Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. And what you learned and received and heard and saw in me, do these things. And the God of peace will be with you.
(Philippians 4:4-9)

More Resources for Further Reflection and Discussion
Family