A group of patrons are in for the meal of their lives when the venture to the exclusive Hawthorne restaurant run by an eccentric celebrity chef.
Spoiler Level: None
Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) is a foodie who idolizes celebrity chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) and is finally invited to meet him along with several other guests as they travel to the very exclusive Hawthorne restaurant, which is located on a private island only accessible by ferry. Tyler is accompanied by his date, Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) who was a last-minute replacement after his girlfriend broke up with him. Also in attendance are food critic Lillian Bloom (Janet McTeer) and her editor Ted (Paul Adelstein), a washed up actor George Diaz (John Leguizamo) and his assistant Felicity (Aimee Carrero), extremely wealthy couple who are frequent guests at Hawthorne Richard and Anne (Reed Birney and Judith Light), three business investors who work for the man that bankrolled Hawthorne Soren, Bryce and Dave (Arturo Castro, Rob Yang, Mark St. Cyr respectively) and finally Linda Slowik, Julian’s mother (Rebecca Koon). The group are met by Maître d’, Elsa (Hong Chau) and given a tour of the island. They are then shown into the dining room where the Chef precedes each course with an increasingly unsettling monologue that becomes more and more outrageous as the movie progresses, satirizing class divides, climate change, patriarchy, sexual harassment, fanaticism, and capitalistic artistic control (those who fund art believe they can make the artistic decisions, even when they aren’t artists). As the courses come, more and more secrets are also exposed about the guests and why they are really there and what Chef has in store for all of them! Can anyone survive the Menu, or will this be their last supper? Watch and find out!
The Menu bills itself as a dark comedy horror film and it delivers on all counts, with a very dark plot, satirical comedy highlighting the absurdity and pretension of some foodies, and the horror which is only in the situation that each guest finds themselves in. This isn’t a slasher flick or a supernatural horror film, but more of a psychological thriller. The story is intriguing with some wonderful twists and turns, and it flows very well with a good rhythm. The script is well written with some amazing dialogue which has its own sort of beauty and poetry to it. The acting is amazing with Ralph Fiennes as the unhinged chef who has lost his passion, giving a wonderfully nuanced performance. Nicholas Hoult is wonderful as Tyler who seems to live in his own little world. Anya Taylor-Joy does a wonderful job as the odd (wo)man out who wasn’t even supposed to be there. She is the everyman, the person who sees through all the pretense and false admiration at what is really going on.
I was happily surprised by this film. I am not a foodie and had no real interest in seeing it. I find many foodies to be pretentious and judgmental, and this movie mocks these people brilliantly. I will not say that this will ever make my top 10 list or anything like that, but it is smartly written and cleverly satirical with a specific focus on class divide and the inequalities in society. The movie was released in theatres on November 18th, 2022, and received mostly positive reviews. It was released on digital platforms on January 3rd, 2023 and will be out on DVD and Blu-ray on January 17th.
Much better than I expected it to be with a biting (pun intended) social commentary on the pretension of "foodies" and the inequalities within the class divide.
The Menu is streaming now on Netflix.
The Menu: A Foodie Nightmare
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Acting - 10/1010/10
- Music - 9/109/10
- Production - 9/109/10
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