Yes, Plot Holes Matter… Sometimes

Sarah C. Schafer
8 min readJan 29, 2020

My favorite Pixar film is Ratatouille. It’s about a rat named Remy who wants to be a great chef like his role model Chef Gusteau who believes “anyone can cook.” The story has a profound message about art, ambition, and criticism, as well as complex characters and on-point humor. Although no movie is perfect, Ratatouille comes close. However, there’s one glaring plot hole.

Remy teams up with a human named Linguini to achieve both of their goals, Remy’s to cook, and Linguini’s to hold a job. In the kitchen, the pair struggles to keep Remy hidden from the other chefs. Through a hilarious series of events, Remy ends up under Linguini’s chef hat and discovers that if he tugs on locks of Linguini’s curly hair, he could control his movements like a puppet. This becomes their solution and is where Remy spends a lot of time for the rest of the movie.

For those who have never seen Ratatouille, (I highly recommend you do) this sounds nonsensical. It’s impossible to cause movement by pulling on someone’s hair, yet in an animated movie it works. After all, is it possible for a rat to become a gourmet chef?

There’s been a rise of plot hole detectives on the internet. Sometimes these critiques are practical (why does Buzz Lightyear freeze around humans if he doesn’t believe he’s a toy?), some express confusion (why do Cinderella’s glass slippers remain after midnight?) and some make the events of the story seem pointless (why didn’t the fellowship fly to Mordor on eagles?)

There’s a certain satisfaction to finding a plot hole. It’s almost like a trophy that says “Congratulations! You are smarter than the filmmakers!” It’s also fun.

Thinking critically is a good thing. Some people enjoy movies on an emotional level while some like to analyze them. I myself fall in the second category.

So why don’t I care about Ratatouille’s plot hole?

Because it’s not really a plot hole.

It makes sense in the movie that Remy could play puppeteer to Linguini, because that’s what he is doing in an allegorical sense. Remy wants to become a chef, but he needs to accept himself for who he is, which means he needs to cook as himself to complete his arc. Linguini has been pushed around his whole life and has to learn to become…

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Sarah C. Schafer

I’m a freelance writer/editor with too many novels in progress. I also write short stories and essays. See more of my work on sarahschaferwrites.com