I’ve eaten a three-star Michelin meal so I’m qualified to discuss this film, no?
Well it’s that level of food hubris that kind of stabs at the heart of The Menu. Got to see this tonight and we really liked it. Since this is an Adam McKay production, you know it’s going to have some dark humor. Unleash him on the avant-garde food industry and… the result is this, which I feel like he mostly succeeds, though sometimes the motivations and reasonings are… muddled at best. The Menu has a lot of trappings of a foodie horror film, but mostly stays on the side of… realism.
You can go a lot deeper into all the different related themes that intersect here, but my conclusion is that they mostly work, but in a few places doesn’t go where I thought they would (and would have made this film a bit more gut-wrenching). There are a few surprising twists and turns, and the take on the Chef’s Table presentations is pretty awesome and funny as hell. For a $1250 meal though, would. there really just be 6-7 courses? Definitely not, but there’s only so much room in a film to cut through the various points they were making.
Oh and the performances. Amazing. Ralph Fiennes. Wow. Nicholas Hoult channels Peter from The Great pretty much, and Anya Taylor-Joy is… well, there’s a reason she is the way she is, so that worked I think.
Well it’s more like a regular night’s service and cost (for 12 people). Wine pairings were included in the meal, which typically in offerings that I’ve seen basically double the cost. Oh and gratuity was included. Typical 3-star meals cost around $300-400 sans everything else (including the French Laundry, last I checked, was $375), though a few places in SF hit 700-800 during their heyday (Benu may still charge that much).
Of course, the high cost and meager offerings are a part of the commentary as well. Bread is a… thing in the film.
Every couple of years I go to a tasting menu and remember why I really don’t like them. It’s just exhausting, every 5 minutes you get some waiter walking up to explain your next dish, detailing where the scallops came from. I truly just don’t give a shit. They aren’t satisfying meals, they’re too cerebral.
Depends. Over here most menus top out at 300 (3 Michelin star restaurants and goes to about 500-600 with pairings). 1.5-2k is for very, very special event stuff (not that I’ve gone to any of those, but I know of a couple. 6 hour dinners with projections, performances, etc…).
So the number does sound reasonable from this POV. It goes in the super expensive bracket without hitting millionaire-level exclusivity.
Well, again, yeah they typically cost 300-400 per head, and double that if you’re doing drink pairings. Gratuity may or may not be added in (in The Menu, it is). Saison in SF started peaking at 700-800 before the pandemic. In contrast, the “best” and most coveted restaurant in the world of the 2010’s, El Bulli, had an average cost of about $325, which was about the same as the French Laundry. El Bulli, however, delivered anywhere between 25-45 dishes per person.
So, the cost of going to Hawthorne in The Menu is relatively high, but there are particuar reasons why (it’s on its own island, you take a specialized boat to get there, food is hand-picked on land and in water, etc.). My main complaint (albeit not a big one) is that it’s not realistic for the course load presented, but to present an El Bulli style presentation is also not realistic to depict in the film the way it is depicted (beacuse it’s not really about the food).
Also note that it’s not presented as a specialized meal or anything different than any other meal–it’s the typical nightly haul at Hawthorne.
This was fantastic. I liked how most of the time I thought I knew where the movie was going, it subverted my expectations. And it really stuck the landing.
Fiennes and Taylor-Joy are in fine form, but for me Hoult was the highlight. I didn’t think I’d ever seen him in a movie until checking he imdb now, and realizing I must have seen him in half a dozen movies and he just the never registered. But this performance I’m not forgetting about. Sounds like I might need to give The Great a go.
This has been a great year for these kinds of smart genre movies, with low budgets but big name casts.
It did not satisfy my appetite for a great movie. For my taste it was too linear. Did not grab me at all, unfortunately and I was looking forward to it. I might watch it again later at home… it could improve over time. Some movies do this for me… I need to digest now.
A question about the very end: Elsa mentioned early on that the meat was aged to a very specific point and that if it were consumed any later, it would be fatal. Coupled with the sinister music sting after she takes another bite right as the film cuts to credits, is the implication that Anya Taylor-Joy dies?
I was left wondering where (or who) the source of meat in that burger might of come from. Or for that matter the “protein” in every course.
I mean I just saw it so shame on me for not remembering, but wasn’t the last sound of the movie that clap he does to announce the next course? Because if it was, I’m right there with you on the possible demise of Margot.
Edit: On the other hand it was clever by her to notice the last time he looked happy was in a picture of him flipping burgers back when he was a kid, so asking him to make a cheeseburger might well have momentarily brought the joy of cooking back to him and as a reward he let her live.