I love this monologue from Rattatouille, a truly awesome movie.  This was spoken by Peter O’Toole, who played Anton Ego, the terrifying food critic.

“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy.

We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read.

But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.

But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talents, new creations. The new needs friends.

Last night, I experienced something new; an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking, is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core.

In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto, ‘Anyone can cook’. But I realize – only now do I truly understand what he meant.

Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France.”

– Anton Ego, “Ratatouille”

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  • Ananda

    This truth resonates with me. How did I miss such moving words from when I watched that movie the 1st time? Must watch again. Thank you, thank you for sharing. Passion, love, authenticity, humility – I felt all of those from the character as he has an inner awakening and aha moment.

  • Donna Norris

    I discovered your blog today, through a friends FB post.

    This post has clarified what I’ve been struggling to put into words for so long and in just a few words, the switch clicked. Thank you Christine – I feel as if I’ve finally been able to figure out who I really am!

  • Becky Hunter

    oops – this is actually the link to my drawings, mistyped it above

  • Becky Hunter

    Hi Christine, thanks for this, it’s a pertinent post for me… I’m an art history grad student and sometime art critic… but I REALLY want to be a visual artist (I just started a Flickr account to remind myself and others that I CAN draw). You’ve given me a great reminder that not only can I leap into the new, unknown and scary as an artist if I dare, but as an art historian I can still take risks and don’t have to stick to safe formulas. Best wishes!

  • Lance

    Hi Christine,
    It’s been a while since I have watched this movie. And as I read this – it reminds me: am I seeing the possibility in others? Especially in those who are risking much to share something deep and meaningful. Lots of deep thought for me on this today….

  • Tonya Leigh

    One of my favorite movies. Thank you for reminding me why I love it so much.

  • Ms. M

    For the past 20+ years I have worked in a field which has not yet been “claimed” by undergraduate degree programs. So we hire people from many different educational backgrounds and life experiences, male and females, from college students to middle-aged people beginning a new career.

    I’ve learned that a “star” worker can come from anywhere, and although I can’t always predict who will succeed and who won’t, I have noticed that temperament has a lot more to do with it than does an educational background in the subject matter we deal with.

  • Laura

    Christine, your wonderful posts never cease. I saw this movie and really enjoyed it but I totally missed this monologue. What resonates with me is the role of college professor: critic or encourager? While I want to encourage my students (and I know that I DO), it seems to me that the system pushes us professors to focus on mistakes. My impression is that this system actively discourages taking risks, taking stands, being creative. I have relished my years as a professor; and I’m very happy to leave this paradigm next month. Take care.

  • Googlover

    Love that movie. Good choice.
    I recently discovered that you sing one of my favorite songs “She don’t like roses”.I got the song from an old boss but she had no idea who the artist were.
    Cheers.

  • S

    aah! Beautiful!!