The Menu is a refreshing satire that never takes itself seriously. It follows Anya-Taylor Joy’s Margo as she is unknowingly reeled into a world that she doesn’t belong to. Margo meets various personalities at a restaurant on a private island run by the esteemed head chef, Slowik (Ralph Fiennes), who has an agenda for his privileged guests that goes beyond just serving quality food—a plan that goes awry upon Margo’s unexpected arrival.
The film is at its best when it’s not afraid to be ludicrous, which is pretty often. It’s full of deliciously funny dark humor and social commentary that is a bit too on-the-nose. In making a statement against art and the type of people and culture that it creates, the film takes multiple jabs at snobby food critics, narcissistic celebrities, and really anyone in the “elite”—all while taking the audience through this journey via food.
And man is it a journey!
Most satires focus more on the humor and leave the rest on the back burner but this film doesn’t shy away from what it told us it would be: a film about food. Each course, labeled on the screen like a menu, reveals another layer to Chef Slowik’s real intentions for the night. Impressively enough, the creation and serving of the food are shot in such a way that will leave any audience member wiping away drool mid-film.
But the main entree of the film is, unsurprisingly, Ralph Fiennes. He’s intense, idiotic, hilarious, and a disturbed emotional wreck all at once. Chef Slowik’s character is the textbook tortured artist and Fiennes expertly delivers, leaving the audience wondering who exactly they should be rooting for even until the very end.
It’s not for everyone, the comedy may take a bit of time to marinate for those who don’t enjoy dark humor, but it’s sure to be a good time and a real mouthful. Compliments to the chef!
Carla Rubio is an English major on the Writing and Rhetoric track with intentions of going to law school. Film studies to her is something to look forward to in the midst of all the essays and cases and research papers.