The Menu (2022) Review – December 2022

Warning: the following contains spoilers for “The Menu.”

Food and horror. An odd combination. One might immediately think of cannibalism, or some other disturbing body-horror imagery. That is not “The Menu.” If you dislike those types of movies, as do I, then that is thankfully not “The Menu.”

Instead, “The Menu” is simply a statement on obnoxious foodie culture and overindulgence that would normally come off as a tad bit preachy, even if it’s correct in its commentary. Emphasis on normally, because I actually found it to be very thrilling and exciting. 

As a self-proclaimed “foodie,” the trailers for “The Menu” made me a bit concerned about how I would feel being the subject of this commentary. I enjoy creative, fancy food. I like taking pictures of it before I even think about taking a bite. I’m obnoxious on that front, and I accept that. I find it fun. 

But did I come out of the movie looking to hang myself like Nicholas Hault’s character because I can’t work a spatula as good as my iPhone camera? Nope. Honestly, this movie made me want to double down on taking pictures in appreciation for all the wonderful meals I have. That’s the thing about “The Menu.” It’s correct in poking fun at the various reasons people dine, as opposed to just simply eating to eat. It’s good to laugh at yourself once and a while. That said, the movie also highlights the many ways that people can enjoy food and what they might want out of it. It’s up for the audience to decide whether or not they want to live any of these lifestyles, or outright hate anyone for living them. It’s subjective. 

Ralph Fiennes, who plays Chef Slowik, the lead antagonist (or protagonist in a twisted way), has his mind made up on these types of high-end diners for most of the movie. To a certain extent, his viewpoint that these elitists have ruined his profession never completely changes. He still lights them on fire at the end, after all (shoutout to human s’mores, by the way). 

However, Anya Taylor-Joy’s valiant effort to get in his head and manipulate him into letting her leave creates a sort of “gray area” in his thinking. Maybe he just felt self-conscious that she didn’t enjoy her meal? Or maybe it was because she wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place? But then why would he later determine that she is just “an eater?” I’m not sure. Point is she’s let go, which obviously means he was having second thoughts about something. I like that ambiguity. The idea that, no matter how fed up you are with certain people and how they treat your passion, there’s always going to be others who just don’t care about you. It’s like Fiennes’ character creates this master plan to end his life and take those he hates down with him, but Taylor-Joy’s character really doesn’t care. She’s just a bystander who wants to leave without dying get some good food for herself. She doesn’t care how the chef wants to cook, or how other patrons want to dine, or how they spend their money. She just wants to enjoy her dining experience how she wants. Who cares about everyone else?

So be aware of how you spend your money. How you could be spending it. If you’re privileged, recognize that before you come off as out of touch. Don’t be fake about it, either. Just be self aware. Try to find a way to give back so that others might one day have the same privileges as you. Don’t do it because I’m telling you to. Do it because it will genuinely make those people and yourself happier.

But if you want to snap a photo of your food and post it on your story because it looks incredible, go ahead. Some people will judge you. Some won’t. But if you enjoy it, then do it. At the end of the day, “The Menu” showcases that a vast majority of people are Anya Taylor-Joy’s and truly couldn’t care whether you live or die. I hope those people enjoy their leftover cheeseburger. 

Other notes:

  • Cinematography was beautiful. Loved the “course” shots with all the food. Especially the overhead one of the “s’mores” at the end.
  • Two small critiques of the movie: the chef’s mom as a character felt unnecessary (loved the chicken thigh part though) and the fight sequence between Anya Taylor-Joy and Hong Chau felt awkwardly paced. 
  • The movie isn’t outright a comedy or a horror, like you’ve probably seen it advertised. I’d simply call it a thriller. It doesn’t take itself too seriously though and has some funny parts sprinkled throughout. 
  • Love the breadless bread plate. Such simple commentary when you really think about it, but it’s ingenious nonetheless. 

“The Menu” is GOOD!

Or a 9/10 if you care about numerical ratings, you fiend. 

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