The Menu

What’s for dinner tonight, chef?


Mariam Alzebdah, Staff Writer

 The Menu is a comedy/horror film that was directed by Mark Mylod and written by Will Tracy and Seth Reiss. It can be streamed now on HBO Max, and it is a movie that you definitely shouldn’t miss!

It follows a young couple (Nicholas Hoult and Anya Taylor-Joy), who spend their day at a high end restaurant. A cruise ship takes them to a remote island where Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) and his crew have prepared a menu for wealthy palates. 

The island consists of gardens, acres of growing food, and smokehouses…all to benefit Chef Slowik’s kitchen. He and his crew make it obvious from the beginning that there will be no exit until all courses of the menu have been consumed. His artistic views later on lead to immoral activities to complete his “story”. 

The preparation, the attention to detail for each character, and everything else about this film are so impressive. Starting with the location, the majority of the film takes place at the restaurant. There are five tables on the main floor, and each table has either two to three chairs, depending on the people attending. 

The other area of the restaurant is like a stage, where the chef and his cooks perform and perfect their dishes. Before each course, the chef claps his hands to get his audience’s attention. He describes and tells the story behind each dish, before

the food is delivered to their tables. The crew follows and abides by the chef in a cult-like manner.

Tyler (Hoult) is a rather clueless coward who does not understand basic ethics. He completely ignores any points that Margot (Taylor-Joy) makes about the restaurant, almost forcing her to go along with his interests. He’s bubbly but ignorant to his surroundings. When Chef Slowik honors Tyler by allowing him to cook a simple meal, he finds himself ineligible, completely discrediting his obsession with food. 

Margot is revealed to be a savvy and strong-willed person. We can see her character develop from passive aggressive to independent over the course of the plot. She and Chef Slowik share several similarities, which only adds different levels of tension to the story. 

The kitchen and menu have been coordinated by real chefs and professionals. For every scene, they were required to recreate the same dish over and over again. This is what makes this film more than impressive, especially considering their dedication to the story. 

The majority of this movie takes place in one large room, and the filmmakers are able to entertain the audience in just one setting, which many films have failed to achieve. For those who pay close attention to the small details, The Menu is filled with so much symbolism and many little hints as to what is coming next. 

This movie is ultimately a dark satire that is mocking high-end cuisine, just as well as the narcissistic, wealthy people who frequent these restaurants. When the chef serves his guests a pallet of oil blends and sauces without any bread, it is meant to show how people will consume absolutely nothing, as long as they get to pay a high price for it. 

Margot seems to be the only one who realizes that they are all just the butt of a cruel joke. Chef Slowik seems to want to find a reason to keep cooking for these wealthy patrons. He doesn’t cook out of love, but out of an obsession towards perfection.

This film has got to be one of my favorites from last year. Its composition, character build-up, and simple-yet-deep storyline are all amazing. The critics who completely missed the meaning of this film might tell you otherwise, but it takes time to look into the box rather than to just focus on the outside of it. 

And if you like this film, you should also watch Triangle of Sadness, which is another movie that criticizes the ridiculous world of the super rich.