Brendan was all gung-ho about this movie, despite the fact that he knew virtually nothing about it and hadn’t seen it in the theatre. We knew about the same, but after reading a review online, I realized that it was a fine movie for our next Family Movie Night.
The plot centers on a rat (yes, the four-footed kind) and his family (who is just content to eat garbage). Remy, the rodent-hero, has a nose that leads him past garbage and saves his life by permitting him to discern rat poison from food, but his family doesn’t appreciate his epicurian tastes, nor his desire to combine flavours and learn from the best of the best, the (late) great August Gusteau. Gusteau’s motto is “anyone can cook,” and Remy realizes his dream of learning to cook might not be so far-fetched after all.
The trouble is, Remy is a rat, as I mentioned. And in Paris, a rat is a rat~hated~despite his natural culinary ability. Remy narrowly avoids being killed in a restaurant’s kitchen, and through the event, meets up with Linguini, who is a newly-hired kitchen-boy. Linguini wants to keep his job, Remy wants to cook, and so through some gestures and practice, Remy learns to control Linguini’s movements through Wii -like gesticulations.
“Linguini’s cooking” turns out to be just what Parisian diners want, to the chagrin of the head-chef. The chef is convinced there is weird stuff going on, but cannot get Linguini to spill the beans. He’s also suspicious of the timing of Linguini’s appearance, as Gusteau’s death willed the restaurant to the chef. As it turns out, Linguini is Gusteau’s rightful heir, and when his cooking is praised by the harshest food-critic in Paris, the story comes out.
As much as I didn’t pay attention to the movie when it was first out, I found myself appreciating its “lesson,” as it were. Linguini wasn’t a chef, and once he learned that it was better to be true to who he was created to be, he was the restaurant’s best waiter. Remy was born to cook, and oddly enough, ends up doing just that in a new French restaurant. But if Remy had listened to his rat-family who just wanted him to root through the trash with them, he never would have realized his dream. And if Linguini had listened to the words spoken by the head-chef, he never would have realized the importance of knowing who you are and following your skills and abilities to that dream’s fruition.
There was no foul language, and what violence there was involved a (nearly-blind) little old lady in a farmhouse with a sawed-off 22, shooting at mice. The cunning and ultimate unkindness of the head-chef made me cringe a bit, but I honestly couldn’t come up with anything that was objectionable.
Brendan has requested this movie for Christmas, which may or may not happen. But overall, it was a good movie for our Family Movie Night tradition and I’m always glad to find good, well-done movies to recommend to other families. .