Ratatouille is a masterpiece of a film. It’s Pixar’s most adult film, the perfect balance of humor and emotion, with a great message about staying true to yourself no matter what society may think of you. It was one of the first films I ever reviewed on my blog (almost nine years ago, and it’s embarrassing to read), and one I’ve written about more than once. The moment when Anton Ego tastes Remy’s ratatouille and is transported back to his youth is one of my all-time favorite film moments, and I remember watching the film for the first time and sobbing from that moment through the end of the credits until the ushers came in to clean up the theater. But one of the most crucial, and often overlooked, aspects of the film is France itself, specifically the city of Paris, which beyond being just the setting for the story is almost a character on its own.Ratatouille is practically a love letter to Paris.
I can probably count on my two hands the number of French films I’ve seen. I’m in no way an expert on French cinema, despite having a great appreciation for it. I’ve been to France twice, but only as a tourist. I don’t speak the language, and while I know more than the average American about French history I’m sure my knowledge pales in comparison to the average European. Basically, I have no authority to speak with any certainty on French culture, history, or cinema, with one exception: one of my all-time favorite films is French. Le Pacte des loups (in English: Brotherhood of the Wolf), is a bizarre, unique mash-up of period drama, monster movie, and martial arts action film, but it’s also intense, emotional, funny, sexy, and simply gorgeous to look at. And, above all, it feels like the sort of film that could only have been made in France.