You show me your Menu, I’ll show you mine (CREDIT: Eric Zachanowich/Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved)

Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Fiennes, Nicholas Hoult, Hong Chau, Janet McTeer, Judith Light, John Leguizamo, Reed Birney, Paul Adelstein, Aimee Carrero, Arturo Castro, Mark St. Cyr, Rob Yang

Director: Mark Mylod

Running Time: 106 Minutes

Rating: R for Deadly Threats That Demand to Be Taken Seriously

Release Date: November 18, 2022 (Theaters)

What’s It About?: Would you pay upwards of $1000 for a seat at the most exclusive molecular gastronomy restaurant in the world? I certainly wouldn’t! Although maybe I would think about it if somebody else were paying for me, though I might still look askance at the whole affair. In that way I’m very much like Margot, Anya Taylor-Joy’s character in The Menu, as she finds herself whisked along by her pompous foodie boyfriend Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) to a remote island dedicated to the culinary craftsmanship of Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes). He’s assembled an exacting series of courses and a very particular lineup of guests for the evening. This is his last hurrah, and that’s very bad news for his customers, if you catch my drift…

What Made an Impression?: I gotta be honest: I thought this movie was going to be about cannibals. And that very much made me want to go see it! But there are in fact zero cannibals in The Menu, at least not literally. Nevertheless, I still had a good time. So that should tell you something. When a film simultaneously fully defies and satisfies expectations, you know we’re in business. Director Mark Mylod delivers the fun and games by meticulously altering reality just so. You might find yourself screaming, “There’s no way this could possibly happen!” Yet in the same breath, you’ll gladly concede, “But I’m grateful for this fantastical catharsis.”

A big reason for that is because Taylor-Joy is so preternaturally easy to root for. The brand of seared-black satirical humor on display here requires characters who obviously deserve their comeuppance. Most of the cast fits that bill with aplomb, but Margot on the other hand is an unassuming interloper. It’s nice to have a peep of light piercing through the darkness. Otherwise, you’d have to wallow in the stink of the wisecrackers, which can be entertaining, but also somewhat exhausting. With a surrogate like Margot, however, you can safely smile as everything burns.

The Menu is Recommended If You Like: Eating the rich

Grade: 4 out of 5 Courses