Ratatouille opened last weekend, to near-universal rave reviews:
Written and directed by Brad Bird and displaying the usual meticulousness associated with the Pixar brand, “Ratatouille” is a nearly flawless piece of popular art, as well as one of the most persuasive portraits of an artist ever committed to film.
It provides the kind of deep, transporting pleasure, at once simple and sophisticated, that movies at their best have always promised.
The hero (and perhaps Mr. Bird’s alter ego) is Remy (Patton Oswalt), a young rat who lives somewhere in the French countryside and conceives a passion for fine cooking.
Raised by garbage-eaters, he is drawn toward a more exalted notion of food by the sensitivity of his own palate and by the example of Auguste Gusteau (Brad Garrett), a famous chef who insists — that “anyone can cook.”
Remy’s budding culinary vocation sets him on a lonely course, separating him from his clannish, philistine family and sending him off, like so many young men from the provinces before him, to seek his fortune in Paris.
That city, from cobblestones to rooftops, is brilliantly imagined by the animators.
Like “The Incredibles,” Mr. Bird’s earlier film for Pixar, “Ratatouille” celebrates the passionate, sometimes aggressive pursuit of excellence, an impulse it also exemplifies.