Eating the rich is usually a metaphor, but inside The menu, is a bit more literal. The film, which follows a group of wealthy people who have paid for an extravagant meal on a remote island, is a sharp satire full of clever surprises.
Directed by Mark Mylod, the dark comedy skewers (excuse the pun) foodie culture while delivering a thrilling storyline that is both logical and absurd. If you want to know what happens during the film’s conclusion, follow us past the spoiler alert below.
Warning: The rest of this post contains spoilers for The menu.
As the rich patrons of this restaurant go through the courses of their meal, all of which have been carefully prepared by chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes, Voldemort in the Harry Potter saga) and his team, they begin to realize that not everything is well. People start dying and eventually it becomes clear that Slowik intends to kill himself, his entire team, and all of his clients.
There’s only one twist in his plan: Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy, Magik in the X-Men film series New mutants), a client that Slowik did not foresee. Margot, it turns out, is a prostitute who was hired by Tyler (Nicholas Hoult, star of the Hulu comedy series The great), one of the other customers, because his girlfriend left him. Tyler knew everyone was going to die at the end of the meal, but he was so desperate to try Slowik’s food that he went anyway and hired Margot because he knew Slowik wouldn’t bring it himself.
Margot is not part of Slowik’s plan, so Slowik offers her a choice: she can join the servers or stay with the clients. She eventually joins the servers, but she uses a rare moment alone to ask for help. Slowik has planned for this eventuality, though, and thus she realizes she is completely and utterly trapped.
At that point, Margot understands what she has to do and what no guest has done in Slowik for a long time: she decides to send the food back. She tells him that she is not satisfied with her intellectual dishes and she feels no love coming from her food. Instead of her dishes, often too refined for their own good, she orders a plain cheeseburger after seeing a photo of Slowik flipping hamburgers as a young man in the ’90s.
He makes the burger and she only takes a bite. So, she asks if she can take the rest to go, and he says she can. She walks off the island as Slowik prepares her last course with the rest of the guests who have earned their doomed fate, at least in Slowik’s mind.
As Margot takes a boat back to the mainland, we see Slowik and his staff preparing dessert, which is a modified version of s’mores. Customers are dressed in chocolate and marshmallows and the whole restaurant is set on fire. Margot, meanwhile, arrives on land and eats the rest of her burger. She takes the evening’s menu out of a gift bag that has been given to her and uses it to wipe her mouth.
In the film’s final moments, he points out that Slowik, for all his moral rectitude, is just as broken as his clients. They’ve been ruined by a culture that loves food for all the wrong reasons, and the only way to escape is not to play. Food is supposed to bring joy, and when all you do is think about how to make it smart, you lose the joy completely.
The menu it is now playing in theaters nationwide.