A deeper look into The Menu (2022)

The movie “The Menu” is a 2022 film directed by Mark Mylod and written by Seth Reiss and Will Tracy. It stars Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy as protagonists alongside Nicholas Hoult, Hong Chau, Janet McTeer, Judith Light, and John Leguizamo. It is a thriller/ comedy which revolves around a famous chef named Szef Kuchini Slowik and a group of people belonging to an exclusive class. These people had been gathered in a lavish restaurant situated on an isolated island to experience the gourmet cuisine. The film then took a darker twist and unrevealed the sinister plot.

The story of the movie revolves around Margot Mills who appeared on a date with foodie Tyler Ledford to an executive restaurant whose chief chef is Julian Slowik. The restaurant is located on a secluded island, Hawthorn, whose owner is the celebrity chef Slowik. Along with Margot and Tyler, there are other elite groups of people. The films reflect themes such as the complex nature of humans, greed, power, etc. Each of the characters in the movie is beautifully crafted which holds major symbolism. The film satirizes the rich and their incompetence.  

Another bizarre and thrilling element of the movie is its ending. In conclusion, the viewers were able to connect the dots and could perceive the intentions of Chef Slowik’s plan which he initiated slowly while introducing each meal from the menu or course. The incentive behind the chef’s violent actions of murdering and burning Hawthorne was his loathing towards the high-end group of people who as per him are shallow, self-centered, and selfish. Their pompous behavior reflects on the ‘fine dining industry’ which as per Chef Slowik has tainted the simple pleasure of dining. His abhorrence towards the specific class became the key notion behind the malevolent action that later took place. His belief that because of those people, the ‘art’ is lost from his cooking only adds fuel to the fire.

The Menu” ending explains how much food plays as an important symbol in the movie. After the guests are made to play the vicious game planned by the chef and brutal torture, the movie forwards to an end with an unimaginable twist. The captured guest had to witness the preparation of their crucifixion. The kitchen staff cooked their death by pouring chocolate over their heads, also adding marshmallows on the top. Then they lit the Hawthorne to the fire, turning themselves into human s’mores. The participation of the staff in their own death also signifies the power Julian Slowik held over them.

Another important food reference represented in the movie apart from marshmallows is of simple, old, American cheeseburger. In the end, we can see that only Margot Mills can escape alive from the island from the bunch of diners. The main reason behind her successful attempt at escape is her quick wit and intelligence. Her order of cheeseburger acts as the final surviving tool for her.

Her order for a cheeseburger brought the past of Chef Slowik into the spotlight where he was shown as a common cook who was happy fulfilling his love of cooking and serving the people by making simple burgers. Margot brought back some old memories of Chef Slowik. During the preparation of her order, the chef again experiences happiness in cooking after a long period. He got his peace back. This provides him the greatest satisfaction and joy in serving Margot. He also concluded that Margot was not like any other guests of the restaurant and had ordered food just for contentment. These all serve as the total opposite of the reasons for Julian Slowik’s animosity towards the group of diners and in favor of his beliefs. As a result, Margot Mills was able to come out alive from the restaurant.

It can be seen from the movie how food plays a crucial role in the movie “The Menu”.

Article by Megha Dave | Edited by Saumya Sharma