The Menu Parent Guide
Riveting and fast paced, this is an intriguing dark thriller. The excessive profanity and violence make it unsuited for family audiences.
Parent Movie Review
Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) is tagging along with Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) to a ritzy, ultra-pricey set menu dining experience at Hawthorne, an elite restaurant on a private island. Run by head chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes), Hawthorne has a reputation as being the modern fine dining experience for the discerning consumer – if they can afford it. Margot and Tyler are two of only twelve guests who will be attending this meal, including food critics, millionaires, and celebrities. But as the courses start to arrive, Margot starts to question the seemingly deliberate strangeness that permeates Hawthorne. Is it just the pretentiousness of chefs engaged in “molecular gastronomy”? Or is it something more sinister?
The Menu is easily one of the most interesting films I’ve seen this year, and that’s got a lot to do with its incredible sense of pacing. I wasn’t engrossed, or I didn’t think I was; I was just tagging along, picking up characters, trying to guess where things were going…and then I checked my watch and realized there was only half an hour left in the runtime. That never happens. Usually, my internal chronometer lets me know every half hour or so, and it’s more like every ten minutes in a bad movie. This film, on the other hand, is exciting, interesting, and remarkably entertaining.
It helps that the movie is funny without resorting to being goofy. Ralph Fiennes has impeccable comic timing, when he’s not busy reminding me that he played a psychotic serial murderer in Red Dragon. That contrast between the dark, violent plot and the sillier, lighter moments is, on its own, an interesting emotional tasting menu. It’s a film that relies on memorable, if unexpected, imagery, and the images stick like melted marshmallows.
Whether you’re here for the biting commentary about social divisions and food culture, the clever writing, the dark laughs, or, like me, you’ll watch anything with Ralph Fiennes in it, I think you’ll have fun with The Menu. I wouldn’t say there’s something for everyone – in fact, there’s rather a lot that is most decidedly not for everyone. Bloody violence, sexual references, and a whopping 83 f-bombs make this a poor choice for family fare. (Although, frankly, as someone who once worked in a restaurant kitchen, this is unrealistically low.) Except for the stabbings, anyway. I didn’t see any of those. Still, this is an adults-only fine dining experience, folks.
Directed by Mark Mylod. Starring Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, Janet McTeer. Running time: 106 minutes. Theatrical release November 18, 2022. Updated November 18, 2022
Watch the trailer for The Menu
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Menu rated R? The Menu is rated R by the MPAA for strong/disturbing violent content, language throughout and some sexual references.
Violence: A man shoots himself in the head. A character’s finger is chopped off. A man is drowned. Several characters are stabbed. People are burned alive. A hanging corpse is seen.
Sexual Content: There are references to sex work and workplace sexual harassment.
Profanity: There are 83 extreme profanities, 13 scatological curses, and frequent uses of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol.
Page last updated November 18, 2022
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Other dark comedies include The Banshees of Inisherin, Bodies Bodies Bodies, Don’t Look Up, Freaky, Come to Daddy, and Cabin in the Woods. Films about restaurants include Pig, Burnt, and Chef. Recently, Ralph Fiennes starred in The Forgiven, and Anya Taylor-Joy had a strange turn in The Northman.