The Menu Review: A Delicious Course of Death


Bram Lieberman '25, Contributing Writer

“Do not eat. Taste. Savor. Relish.” There is no better way to describe my experience watching Mark Mylod’s The Menu.

The story of The Menu begins simply enough, with Margot (Anya-Taylor Joy) smoking a cigarette on a dock with her boyfriend Tyler (Nicholas Hoult), as they wait for a boat to arrive. Tyler expresses his excitement for the night ahead, and as other people arrive, we soon learn that these esteemed guests are attending an exclusive dinner, prepared in meticulous detail by chef Julian Slowick (Ralph Fiennes).

The attendees, including Tyler and Margot, as well as a food critic and her assistant, an actor and his wife, three businessmen and an older couple are brought on board a boat set for Hawthorne Island, where Slowik’s restaurant, Hawthorne, resides. When the guests arrive to the island, they are greeted with warmth and kindness and receive a tour of the island’s signature locations. They soon find their way to the dining room where the dinner course begins.

Things quickly spiral out of control, and the attendees are locked into an experience that they will never forget.

It is hard to describe the full story of The Menu without giving away too much, however, I found each twist and turn of the plot to be unexpected and extremely compelling. The main conflict of the film is Margot’s mental battle with Slowick. Every dish that leaves the kitchen doesn’t impress Margot, and Slowick is very clearly hurt by this. As tensions rise and events become more out of hand, Margot emerges as a confident, complicated and courageous character; Chef Slowik is also a very intriguing character to watch. The calculating chef reminded me a lot of Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs (mostly in mannerisms not in actions).

The film pokes fun at modern day cooking trends, such as favoring the message of the food over…actually making good food. Slowik even has the iconic Gordon Ramsay “YOU DONKEY!” line. I enjoyed how self aware the film was, with Tyler’s foody outlook clashing with Margot’s “whatever” mentality. 

Each course of the meal is plated masterfully, and the ingredients and the meal itself are shown in great detail. I really enjoyed admiring each food item; whether it be something appealing, whacky, pretentious or otherwise. The final dish was a highlight for me personally.

The Menu also contains a sizable amount of social commentary. It has themes of social class, how women are exploited by men in power, the importance of working out of love, and much more. The collection of intriguing themes present in the film dramatically heightens its impact on the viewer.

The film is also visually stunning. Although most of the film takes place in one room, the elegant yet subtle architecture and furniture is really cool. The few times the movie explores the island it is shot incredibly well and the lush forests are a visual feast (no pun intended).

Overall, I found The Menu to be a compelling dark comedy encompassing an appetizer of great performances, an entree of compelling themes, and a desert of a great ending. The Menu is a delectable delight that left me well fed, while simultaneously hungry for more. I rate The Menu 4.5/5.