Disney’s “Ratatouille” is a gay coming-of-age film and you can’t convince me otherwise.
Think about it: The movie has all the hallmarks of a good piece of queer media. It’s got, for starters, growing up repressed in the countryside and sneaking in secret moments, trying not to get caught by your family you know won’t accept you. What is Remy coming into his own and finally living his truth in a cosmopolitan—Gay Paree, no less—if not a French rat version of Armistead Maupin’s classic “Tales of the City”?
So maybe Remy isn’t explicitly gay, but you can’t tell me that the way the movie frames his culinary ability and affinity for humans isn’t queer coded. “Now I’m living a secret life,” “I can’t choose between two halves of myself,” he says throughout the movie. (BTW, if you want to see a compilation of gay-coded Remy quotes, check this video out. It’s my bible.)
I think you can even make the case that Remy dealing with the intersection of his ratness and chefness illustrates how people who are marginalized twice have a harder time accepting themselves. It’s hard enough to be a rat in a human world, it’s a lot harder to be a rat chef (which means gay).
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. I can’t seriously think that Remy is gay, right? The thing is, I don’t think that’s particularly important. Whether or not I really think Remy is gay (which I actually do!) is not as important as whether or not I think he’s gay coded. As a queer person, decoding queerness in the otherwise straight media I grew up with is important to me. Being able to take a character and claim them as part of my community via a few phrases, a few actions prepares me for a lifetime of having to do so in my actual adult reality. It’s my cartoon preparation for “Do you listen to girl in red?”
I know this article is for our Heart Eyes, queer crushes series so I do have to say that I don’t have a crush on Remy. Though I have enough weird crushes that I just know if I did the Tiktok weird crushes challenge, I would defeat (and subsequently repel) everyone, I will point out right now that I love Remy but not in that way. He is my boyfriend in the same way that April Ludgate and Derek from “Parks and Rec” were boyfriends and girlfriends (minus the kissing), which is to say not really my boyfriend but kind of. He is the rodent Harry Cameron to my Evelyn Hugo.
One last take for the road, with feeling: In another life, where either no one is a rat or both of them are, Remy and Ego the critic would be boyfriends.
Art by Dana Calvo
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