You may be thinking what does the Pixar film Ratatouille have to do with social justice? Let us look past the fact that the main character, Remy, is a rat and instead see him as part of a marginalized community, “a group otherwise disenfranchised in the legal or political system” (Steele, 2016). Remy is forced to live a life in squalor and oppression just because he is a rat. However, he also does not quite fit into his community of rats due to his love of fresh, delectable, and 5-star food.
Social Justice “focuses on big picture and daily lives, examines how systems impact individuals, and looks at access to resources, power and privilege” (Steel, 2016).
For those who don’t know, Ratatouille is a film about a young rat named Remy who no longer wants to live a life of scavenging rotten food. Remy wants to become a chef, but to do this he needs a human to follow his directions, thus comes in Alfredo Linguini. A human who gets a job at a 5-star restaurant and attempts to become a chef (a very bad one). He befriends Remy and they work together to create food for the restaurant. Remy becomes part of the dominant culture and gains power and privileges through Linguini.
The film touches on social justice by showing how a person (rat) in a marginalized community can change their lives and how others think of them. Remy breaks free of being seen as a rat by becoming a renowned chef. However, throughout the film, he is faced with challenges from the human and the rat communities. Anton Ego, a harsh food critic says, “Anyone Can Cook!. What’s even more amusing is that Gusteau actually seems to believe it. I, on the other hand, take cooking seriously. And, no, I don’t think anyone can do it.” (Ratatouille). Remy’s father is against Remy doing something different and leaving the community.
Remy and Linguini show both Remy’s father and Ego by persevering through oppression. They prove to Ego that indeed, “anyone can cook” by feeding him a dish he had as a child, ratatouille. Then they show that Remy was the one who cooked it. They prove to Remy’s father that Remy can be accepted into the dominant culture by still being a part of the rat culture.
This movie is important because it teaches kids first of all that “anyone can cook” and that it doesn’t matter what you look like, where you come from, and how repressed and ostracized you may be. You can surpass the odds and there are people out there that can help and believe in you.
“Steele, C. K., Dr. “Social Justice Public Relations.” CSU, Fort Collins, CO. 15 April. 2016. Lecture.”