The Menu: a film of revenge, best served cold


Ella Mancuso, Feature Editor

The Menu: To most, this may sound like a simple movie detailing the delicate art of culinary, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Viewers may be manipulated into thinking they’re watching well-established people dine at a Michelin star restaurant, but soon will release The Menu is a dark, satirical psychological-thriller poking fun at the rich, serving its diners revenge on a silver platter.

The Menu starts with the select group of esteemed diners, ready to board a ship to the island where the restaurant Hawthorn is located. Tyler, a self-proclaimed ‘foodie’ takes a last-minute accomplice named Margot, who is uninterested in the experience, but agrees to go anyway. When arriving at Hawthorn, the group is greeted by the notable Julian Slowik (referred to as ‘chef’), a highly-respected chef serving a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Chef notes that Margot was not on the original guest list, and she should leave Hawthorn immediately; she declines. 

The guests are presented with numerous courses, each with a significance to the diner’s personal life. The first two courses go to plan, however when the third course is presented at the table, dark, horrific truths come to light. Customers are given dishes revealing confidential information like tax embezzlement and affairs, leaving the guests with panic and confusion as to how the restaurant knew about their personal faults. As the movie goes on, the dishes get more uncomfortable and dreadful; scenes depict suicide and drowning. At this point, I wanted to shut the movie off, I was unsettled, as one should be. I continued watching, as the events of the movie became more dark as the scenes progressed.

As all the guests realize Chef’s violent intentions, they want to leave Hawthorn, but they cannot. Chef takes an interest in Margot due to the fact that she wasn’t on the original guest list, and poses as a mystery to him. Chef gives Margot special access to his office to retrieve an item for the next course. While in his office, Margot discovers pieces of information about Chef’s life before he became the cold, lifeless person he is depicted as. As Margot returns, she starts a fit and demands the Chef to make her a cheeseburger, as she describes the other food as ‘bland’ and ‘disgusting’. The cheeseburger holds a significance to Chef’s early years, and her order makes him happy; he allows Margot the opportunity to leave and she accepts. The movie ends with Margot safely back to shore, watching as all the other guests explode along with Hawthorn itself after the final course.

Overall, The Menu made me uncomfortable and disturbed— but also reeled me in to finish the movie. The movie keeps you thinking and at the end, will honestly make your brain feel sore. Anya Taylor-Joy, who plays Margot, does an amazing job portraying fear and showing the progression of her slowly realizing she is going to die at Hawthorn. Ralph Fiennes, who plays Chef Julian Slowik, channels his inner Voldemort as he never shows the audience emotion, building Chef’s cold, psychotic character. The two together are a match made in heaven– their character’s personalities contrast perfectly and bring a good balance of ‘good and evil’ to the plot.

Although The Menu is highly praised in the media and is recommended to watch, viewers should be advised of the disturbing content, as it is suitable for more mature audiences because death is depicted and shown.