A couple, Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Tyler (Nicholas Hoult), travel to a coastal island in the Pacific Northwest to eat at an exclusive restaurant, Hawthorn, where the reclusive, globally celebrated Chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) has prepared a lavish tasting menu for select special guests.
What We Thought:
Ever watch a cooking/restaurant show and wondered what it would be like to watch someone like Gordon Ramsey lose it? I mean lose it. Well do I have a movie for you. It’s called The Menu and it’s absolutely demented and I kind of loved it. Ralph Fiennes deadpans a completely mental performance and it has a strong supporting cast as well.
If you aren’t familiar with the film, read the synopsis above. That’s all you need to know about it. When you see it, try to know as little as possible. I had seen the trailer and thought it looked like a fun, dark comedy. I was right. I watched the film alone and legit howled to myself at certain parts. It’s dark and deranged and totally up my alley.
The best part of the film is how it pokes fun at food culture. There’s a little bit of everyone in the restaurant that you’d expect in an exclusive joint. There is the famous actor. The food critic. The rich bros. The foodie. The staff all saying “Yes chef” in unison. All serve their part, but it’s Fiennes who absolutely dominates the film.
As the executive chef he controls the room. He’s the one explaining the food. He’s the one explaining why everyone is there. He’s the one losing his shi…mind. It’s one of my favorite performances of the year because of how dark Fiennes goes with it.
The Menu won’t be for everyone and I understand that. I like dark humor so this completely worked for me. I thought at one point it was starting to lose me, but then Fiennes double downs on the craziness. Anya-Taylor Joy keeps everything grounded as the only authentic person in a place she shouldn’t even be at. You instantly don’t like certain people (the rich bros for sure) so you root for the maniac chef to take you through his menu for the evening. I’ll definitely watch it again and have already recommended it to friends. It’s a nice surprise in a disappointing year for film. Nothing else to say besides…