The Menu Explained (Every Question Answered) | This is Barry (2024)

The Menu is a 2022 thriller directed by Mark Mylod starring Ralph Fiennes in a menacing lead role. A group of ultra rich folks invited to a lavish multi-course meal in a restaurant on an isolated island. Doesn’t sound really inviting, does it? As expected, there is much more waiting for them than just exotic meals. I got multiple requests for this film, so I’ve put together this article, where I’ve tried to answer some of the most pressing questions the film raises. Here’s the plot and ending of the movie The Menu explained; spoilers ahead.

If you’re wondering about the ending, jump right to it – explaining the cheeseburger.

In this episode of Film Exploder, we take a deep dive into The Menu and its meaning:

The Menu Explained (Every Question Answered) | This is Barry (1)

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Oh, and if this article doesn’t answer all of your questions, drop me a comment or an FB chat message, and I’ll get you the answer.You can find other film explanations using the search option on top of the site.

The Menu Explained In Short

The Menu follows a frustrated chef and staff at an extravagant island-restaurant who cater to wealthy customers who value affluence over cuisine. The meal concludes with the staff killing everyone except Margot, the sole non-pretentious individual among the snobbish clientele.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Menu: What is it about? What is the twist?

Chef Julian Slowik invites a bunch of enormously wealthy individuals for a lavish meal at his restaurant on an isolated island, Hawthorn, where the staff intends to kill the patrons and themselves. Think of them as a culinary cult who are simply tired of having their dreams crushed by influential people with no discernible talent.

The Menu: Who is Chef Slowik, and why does he want to kill everyone?

Chef Slowik, once a talented cook who made burgers, went on to become one of the most celebrated chefs serving an affluent clientele. Unfortunately, the audience he catered to no longer cared for the food. For them, it was all about being consumers at prestigious venues and not the actual food.

Here is the list of guests and reasons why they are on the kill-list:

Tyler:A faker convinced that he’s a foodie genius; the kind quacks that Slowik despises.
Margot: A wildcard entry that the staff were not expecting; she’s not on the menu.
Ted and Lillian: Food critics whose reviews have closed establishments of really talented chefs.
George Diaz: Who has been doing high-paying terrible films that don’t need any skills as an actor; Slowik considers this to be a disregard for art.
Felicity: Diaz’s artist manager who has been stealing money from him despite coming from a financially sound background.
Richard and Anne: An elderly couple who have visited Slowik’s restaurant several times and can’t name even one dish from their previous visit.
Soren, Dave, and Bryce: Guys who are constantly involved in fraud and have no reverence for art or food and use their influence to gain access to everything.

Did Chef Slowik grow up in Waterloo, Iowa, or Bratislava, Slovakia?

I think Julian is secretly teasing Margot for lying about where she’s from. Julian is from Iowa. The whole Slovakia thing is probably just to yank her chain. Back when Julian was a kid, Slovakia was part of Czechoslovakia and the communist government back then didn’t allow anything remotely western, so definitely no Taco Tuesdays. We also see a picture of Julian, as a young man, working in an American hamburger joint. So I don’t think Julian ever was in Slovakia; it appears to be a false narrative for Margot.

Who is Tyler?

Tyler is a disillusioned individual who obsesses about Chef Slowik. He is a talentless hack who has convinced himself into believing he’s a connoisseur of great food. In reality, Tyler is just a rich kid with a hobby, sorta like many of the wine experts out there. Oh, he’s crazy, too, because…

The Menu: Did Tyler know everyone was going to die?

Yes, Tyler has been in conversation with Chef Slowik for 8 months and is fully aware that he and his partner are going to their final meal. Did I mention Tyler is crazy? Well yeah, not only was he happy to go to his death, he was perfectly fine taking an unsuspecting escort to die with him.

The Menu: Who is Margot?

Margot (real nameErin) is the unsuspecting high-end escort Tyler has brought to the restaurant, because his original date, Miss Westervelt, appears to have left him. It’s important to acknowledge how Miss Westervelt, who was also marked for death, unknowingly escaped because she left Tyler. She would have one heck of an expression seeing the morning news.

Was she Richards’s daughter?

No, Richard has also hired Margot before and has made her do some weird things, like referring to him as father and calling him a good man. Chef Slowik notices how rattled Margot gets when she sees Richard and pulls her aside to get more details.

The Menu: What happened to Tyler? What did the chef say to Tyler? What did he whisper? Why did Tyler hang and kill himself?

Slowik is Tyler’s idol, and Tyler is publicly shamed and exposed for being a faker. After this, we can only assume that Slowik tells Tyler he’s worthless, his knowledge of food amounts to nothing, and he is better off ending his life. Unable to face the kind of invalidation by his idol, Tyler hangs himself to death. Also, did I mention Tyler was crazy?

The Menu: What was behind the silver door?

The silver door serves as a symbol of Chef Slowik’s ego and contains his most significant accomplishments. But here is where Margot notices a young and happy Slowik cooking burgers, before his fame, before his culinary excellence – his happiest days.

The Menu Ending: The Cheeseburger Explained: Why was Margot allowed to leave?

Margot realized that Slowik was the happiest when he served regular people good ol’ American cheeseburgers. Being requested for one, Slowik enjoys the nostalgically pleasurable cook, reminiscing simpler times. He is rewarded by the expression of satisfaction Margot gives when she bites into it. She also smartly asks to pack the rest, which tells Slowik that Margot doesn’t want good food to go to waste, something you rarely see in fancy restaurants – packing leftover food is seen as a very lowly thing to do. After years, Chef Slowik experiences absolute joy in serving food and, as a result, let’s Margot leave.

The Menu: Why didn’t they fight back?

Other than Margot, the other customers were those floating in extraordinary wealth and whose flightandfight mechanisms were to use their financial power to bully their way out of any situation. They try to buy their way out, but it doesn’t work.

After Richard has his finger cut off, they all avoid confrontation. The actor is the only one who proposes they try to fight back because he has at least seen his stunt double do such a thing. The men try to run for it when given the opportunity but are no match for the staff. Margot is the only one who fights the situation and succeeds in the end.

The Menu: Why did the staff die?

The staff wanted to make a statement by committing mass murder and suicide. The whole of Hawthorn appears to have become a cult of sorts that worshipped Chef Slowik. The staff seemed to be mentally unstable chefs who were tired of having their art consumerized and insulted.

The Menu: Did Margot die?

No, Margot doesn’t die. She escapes and witnesses the restaurant go up in flames as she enjoys her cheeseburger. Her boat runs out of fuel, and Margot is stranded till someone spots her and rescues her. The explosion is large enough to have a rescue team come over from the mainland.

The Menu Explained (Every Question Answered) | This is Barry (2)

This is Barry

Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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The Menu Explained (Every Question Answered) | This is Barry (2024)

FAQs

What is the hidden meaning of The Menu? ›

The ending of The Menu reveals that Chef Slowik burns down Hawthorn with the guests inside as a punishment for their excessive wealth and pretentiousness. Chef Slowik's plan is to make his shallow and disconnected guests feel powerless and embarrassed before they die, highlighting the industry's elitism.

Why was Felicity killed in The Menu? ›

For example, personal assistant Felicity is killed for the fact she went to the Ivy League Brown University and has no student loan from it. Her murder is thus made part of the plan without clarifying whether this is because she got a scholarship, or because she comes from wealth.

Why did Tyler hang himself in The Menu? ›

Tyler Hung Himself After Being Humiliated By Chef

After the failed cooking demonstration, Tyler proceeds to be reprimanded by Chef Slowik.

Why did she eat the cheeseburger at the end of The Menu? ›

Margot connects the dots and asks for The Menu cheeseburger because she understands it would remind Slowik of the time when he genuinely enjoyed cooking.

What did chef whisper to Tyler? ›

Slowik presumably whispered that Tyler would not only never earn his praise, but also was no longer considered worthy of being "part" of his menu. That was, perhaps, a fate even worse than death for Tyler, leading to his suicide before The Menu's ending.

What is the metaphor in The Menu? ›

The central metaphor is plainly obvious. “The Menu” is not about food, or eating, but about the consumption of art, as well as the forces the artist finds himself subjected to while attempting to create.

Who is the fallen angel in The Menu? ›

During the fourth course, sous-chef Jeremy kills himself. When Richard tries to leave, the staff cuts off his left ring finger as a warning to stay. Slowik arranges for Hawthorn's angel investor Doug Verrick, to whom Slowik relinquished ownership during the COVID-19 pandemic, to be drowned in front of the guests.

What does the burger represent in The Menu? ›

The cheeseburger itself is a symbol of the thing that reminded Slowik why he began cooking, and how he fell in love with it. The simple act of preparing something for someone who greatly appreciates it – no bells and whistles, no frills or fuss.

Why was the chef's mom there in The Menu? ›

The twelfth guest on Slowski's menu is no one else but his mother (Rebecca Koon), an abusive alcoholic that could never be satisfied. Slowski is so absorbed by his work and the making of his art because he's still trying to please people who don't care about him, making his mother an ingredient to his ultimate menu.

Why did the girl stab the chef in The Menu? ›

Katherine explains how Slowik sexually harassed her, before stabbing him in the leg as revenge. She then allows him to explain that the men have 45 seconds to run for help before the other chefs come and catch them.

Who is Mr. Leibrandt in The Menu? ›

Reed Birney plays Richard Liebbrandt.

Why is Tyler so weird in The Menu? ›

Throughout The Menu, Nicholas Hoult's Tyler is so blinded by his self-gratifying obsession with Slowik that he cannot see anything beyond it. He genuinely believes that being a self-proclaimed connoisseur of the chef's food puts him on an intellectual and social high ground.

What is the message behind The Menu? ›

The Themes Behind The Menu

The film itself was an allegory that speaks to how much social media and the world of self-professed "foodies" have contributed to the bastardization of an art form that takes master chefs years of training and experience to excel at.

Why is the chef evil in The Menu? ›

Regardless, while Julian would go on to become a famous chef with his own private island, he would become miserable over how his customers abused artisans such as himself by not appreciating his food. After he sexually harasses his sous-chef Katherine, she comes up with the plan to kill everyone along with him.

What's behind the silver door in The Menu? ›

After a fight that ends with Elsa stabbed in the neck, Margot learns what's behind that door - a room dedicated to Slowik's past featuring restaurant reviews, pictures of a former family, and a picture of him happy as a fry cook in a fast-food restaurant. That discovery is what helps her guarantee her freedom later on.

What message does The Menu have? ›

The Menu is a pretty simple story about an artist losing his passion and finding revenge against those who took it from him. Along the way, it explores the idea of food as a form of art, the terrible people who enjoy the best things life has to offer, and the inherent joy of providing a service.

What do the people in The Menu represent? ›

The Menu purposely builds one-dimensional characters to convey its complex and vital message about the state of the cultural industry. The guests in Slowski's restaurant represent different social classes to blame for art losing its meaning, making them symbolic ingredients in the movie.

What was The Menu meaning? ›

: a list of the dishes that may be ordered (as in a restaurant) or that are to be served (as at a banquet) b(1) : a comparable list or assortment of offerings.

What is the original meaning of menu? ›

The word "menu", like much of the terminology of cuisine, is French in origin. It ultimately derives from Latin "minutus", something made small; in French, it came to be applied to a detailed list or résumé of any kind.

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