The Menu (2022)

In the new satirical comedy The Menu, director Mark Mylod (TV's Succession) and screenwriters Seth Reiss and Will Tracy (former writers at The Onion) use the world of food, foodies, critics, and chefs to skewer the soul-sucking relationship between those who take and those who give. In the case of The Menu, the givers are a chef and his service industry colleagues who pour passion into their work, and the takers are those unappreciative little brats who can never be satisfied.

"an exciting, tension-filled odyssey that leaves audiences unsettled by its delicious mix of horror and pitch black humor"

The result is an exciting, tension-filled odyssey that leaves audiences unsettled by its delicious mix of horror and pitch black humor, but satisfied by its energy, suspense and unpredictability. The film’s whip-smart script, with its many layers and surprising twists, is the principle reason it all works as well as it does, while the brilliant performances of everyone involved, particularly from Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy are the film’s ace in the hole.

The story takes place over a single evening at a remote Pacific Northwest coastal island restaurant called Hawthorne where reclusive chef Slowik (Fiennes) has promised a lavish tasting menu for a group of select guests.

The guest list includes an eclectic group of twelve hand-picked folks who each fork out $1250 for the pleasure of enjoying Chef’s delicacies. There’s a pretentious food critic and her enabling publicist (Janet McTeer and Paul Adelstein), an aging movie star (John Leguizamo) and his yes-man assistant (Aimee Carrero), an obnoxious trio of tech bros (Arturo Castro, Rob Yang, and Mark St. Cyr), and a wealthy middle age couple (Reed Birney and Judith Light). There’s also know-it-all foodie Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) and his last minute date, Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy).The Menu (2022)

As the evening unfolds, humorously worded title cards introduce each course which, in turn, disclose new aspects of the story. Throughout the meal, personal secrets are revealed, and relationships are uncovered, as are Chef Slowik’s increasingly sinister intentions. As we eat our way through the evening, each course one-ups the pretentiousness of the one before, until the discomforting social interactions and personal accusations put the guests – and us – on edge.

It all leads up to an astonishing ending that, were it not for the intensifying insanity of the previous 100 or so anything-goes minutes, would need to be ingested with a huge dose of suspension of disbelief. But as it is, the absurdity of the final act feeds right into this satirical thriller’s central message which has a lot to say about the commitment and incessant stress that artists (in this case, chefs) endure in order to maintain perfection day in and day out. It also, in its own wacky way, reminds us to be nice to our service industry workers.

There’s a nice little final girl resolution that involves a hilariously sarcastic guest who refuses to buy into the pretentious bullshit being shoveled out by the givers and takers alike. All in all, The Menu is a fun – and funny – full course meal that has a lot of damaging things to say about a lot of miserable people. The irony here is that the power of satire comes from the fact that it softens the blow of discovering the truth about oneself. After all, it’s easier to take criticism when we’re laughing.

4/5 stars

Film Details

The Menu (2022)

MPAA Rating: R for strong/disturbing violent content, language throughout and some sexual references.
106 mins
: Mark Mylod
Seth Reiss; Will Tracy
Ralph Fiennes; Anya Taylor-Joy; Nicholas Hoult
: Comedy | Horror
Wonderful Surprises Await You All.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Here, we are family. We harvest. We ferment. We gel."
Theatrical Distributor:
Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 18, 2022
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: A young couple travels to a remote island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises.


The Menu (2022)