In what I would argue is Ratatouille’s most important scene  —  its thesis, so to speak  —  screenwriter Brad Bird makes his appeal to moviegoers that curiosity, playfulness, and a spirit of adventurous experimentation are the secrets to turning merely practical pursuits into a joyful way of life.


We watch as a snack-toting Remy finds his older brother Emile wolfing down a piece of cheese. Recognizing the value of the morsel, Remy reprimands Emile for consuming excellence without any respect or appreciation. “Don’t just hork it down!” He tries to awaken in his brother the same joy that he knows, the same passion for trying unlikely combinations in a single bite.

Chew it slowly.

And as Emile cooperates, the background fades to black.

Then, Remy has him try a piece of fruit with the cheese. As Emile practices savoring flavor, little by little, we see faint lights begin to pulse in the shadows, a dawning realization of magic. Remy, a zealous evangelist, exclaims, “Now, imagine every great taste in the world being combined into infinite combinations! Tastes that no one has tried yet! Discoveries to be made!”

And then… well…

Yeah. It doesn’t go well.

Read my new reflections on my favorite moments from Brad Bird’s Ratatouille, a film that has a tenth birthday coming up in June. I contributed it to the new 100 Scenes project.