The ending of The Menu: salvation is simplicity

The ending of The Menu: salvation is simplicity

The ending of The Menu

After a quick visit to the cinema, in recent days The Menu has landed on Disney+, a film that combines the fascination for the world of haute cuisine with the disturbing narrative typical of thrillers. Directed by Mark Mylod, thanks to its hybrid nature in the form of a complex narrative structure, The Menu , through the culinary metaphor, is one of the best contemporary criticisms of a society that swallows content without savoring it, fueling a crazy mechanism in which everything must being social and homologated, killing inspiration and specific identity by virtue of a fictitious mask of ephemeral self-celebration. Heartbreaking film in portraying lives broken and on the edge, with just enough thriller and horror to give life to a five star vision, thanks to a wonderful Ralph Fiennes and two wonderful young actors in Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult. In our review we shared our feelings about this starred thriller, but considering the peculiar nature of this high-class dinner it seems right to dwell on the ending of The Menu .

Subscribe now to Disney Plus for 8.99 € per month or €89.90 per year The progression of the plot of The Menù involves the viewer in a subtle but inexorable way, presenting cross-sections of humanity that slowly let their nature emerge, which contrasts with the apparently icy nature of the chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes), progressively unveiled as dinner progresses. If the first three courses seem to follow a traditional culinary path, it is the chef's explanations that leave the diners dumbfounded, who find in these chef presentations a sort of manifestation of his inspiration, until the understanding of the true motivations of the chef and his brigade do not become apparent.

The finale of The Menù is the worthy conclusion of a heartfelt contemporary critique intertwined with a passion for gastronomy

The finale of The Menù reserves a moment of particularly strong emotional catharsis for Julian Slowik, who despite this epiphany does not he gives up his last, tragic service. To better understand the motivations that push this man who has reached the Olympus of the kitchen, some considerations on the development of The Menù are necessary.

Warning: the following contains spoilers about The Menù

The ending of The Menù: salvation is simplicity

The importance of the menu The unexpected sleeper The cheeseburger of salvation The Menu: a bitter ending

The importance of the menu

As per tradition , Slowik offers its diners a selection of specially studied dishes, but this is not the only menu selected by the chef. Going beyond this traditional setting of catering, the division into courses also marks the development of the plot, creating a synergy between the different dishes and the slow evolution of the plot, which after three courses takes an unexpected turn. It is interesting to note how it is Slowik's introductions to the first three courses that suggest one of the motivations that guide the chef in giving an identity to his menu, considering how his words immediately reveal a certain rancor towards his guests, trivializing their approach to cooking (the phrase 'don't eat' is emblematic), which does not appreciate the refinement and value of the work behind each dish, limiting itself to gobbling dishes without discovering their right value. If we wish, we can review a class morality in this piqued criticism of Slowik, which highlights how this selection of exponents of the upper class, sure of their privileged position, have developed a sort of apathy towards the simple pleasures of life, undermining also respect for other people's work.

In this element, it is also valued the second menu tabled by chef Slowik: the diners. Being able to select the small circle of guests who can access the exclusive Hawthorn, island-restaurant managed by the chef, Slowik creates a menu of wild souls, with whom to confront one last time in his excruciating showdown with the world in which he has always lived. Although cruel brutality can be seen in the deeds of the cook and his brigade, we cannot ignore the fact that the real villains are precisely the diners. Among those who have chosen to devote their lives to demolishing restaurateurs such as the culinary critic Bloom, those who now see dining at Slovik's restaurant not as an experience but as a trivial right acquired up to those, like Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) he lives feeling part of this world lacking the skills but deluding himself that he can be part of this art. Two menus therefore, each of which has an alien element: an unexpected dish and an out-of-place diner

The unexpected sleeper

From the very first bars of The Menu, the presence of Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) is presented as a dissonant element within the plot, starting with the initial scenes on the pier. In a carefully prepared plan, the young woman, as it turns out, is the breaking point. Among the exponents of a small circle of privileged people, she always stands out as the outsider, but it is in her relationship with the world of haute cuisine that her salvific atypicality emerges. Where Margot is always reluctant to passively accept her destiny, the other diners, net of sterile planning that never materialized, seem incapable of rebelling against the disturbing evening as their presence, in their opinion, remains a certificate of exclusive belonging to the small circle of VIPs, a marked demonstration of their being someone, of having made it. Giving up this culinary experience would mean declaring yourself unworthy of being seated at this exclusive table. And here, the most evident contrast between Margot and the other characters of The Menù is revealed.

The key to understanding Margot's importance is in her relationship with Tyler (Nicholas Hoult), who as a childish cooking enthusiast soon reveals himself as a real villain. Not so much for his blind subjection to the figure of Slowik, evidently poorly tolerated by the chef himself, but in his constant belittling of his companion, whom he considers a necessary piece of furniture in his presence and nothing more, as she is unable to appreciate the true kitchen. The exchanges between the two continue on this tenor continuously, culminating in Tyler's acrimonious envy when he realizes that a certain affinity has been created between Margot and Slowik.

To motivate this relationship between the girl and Slowik is the former's iron resistance against the chef. Precisely because she is extraneous to this world and its rigid (and hypocritical) customs, Margot manages to oppose the chef, emphasizing her own vision of food as opposed to this artificial show and also undermining the safety of Slowik himself, an ability that Margot possesses as, albeit in a different area, it carries out a customer service activity. Where the final satisfaction of the customer is vital for Margot, for the chef this seems to have vanished within an exhausting work dynamic in which passion is sacrificed in the name of fame, annulling the very soul of the chef. It is no coincidence that Fiennes only shows sour and suffering smiles, while his first truly happy expression behind the stove appears in an old photo that will be Margot's salvation. A salvific path, that of Margot, which passes from rebellion against this small circle of privileged people to earning the chef's respect, when the girl manages to show herself as a customer of the chef, and revealing her enjoyment of a dish specially prepared on his request: a simple cheeseburger .

The cheeseburger of salvation

In the first courses, the serving of bread was expressly avoided, with a panegyric with which Slovik explains the importance of bread as a food , emphasizing its relevance especially for the economically weaker groups. In the almost ritual vision linked to the dinner set up by Slovik, the absence of bread can also be seen as a sign of a lack of salvation, as it is instead often associated in the Catholic vision of the ritual of breaking bread. In this vision it is no coincidence that the only person to eat bread, i.e. Margot, is the only survivor of this last supper. An emotionally strong vision, which appeals to the very soul of the chef, who finds a kindred spirit in Margot.

As is clearly shown by the photo accidentally discovered by Margot, Julian has shown be really happy while at the beginning of his career he cooked hamburgers in a fast food restaurant, also obtaining his first professional recognition, the award for best employee of the month, a typically American tradition. This detail, combined with his continuous manifestation of dissatisfaction with the cuisine proposed by Slovik, created the conditions for giving life to the mother scene of the film: Margot's request for a cheeseburger. A simple order, the only one that is cooked by Slovik in the whole film and above all the only occasion in which we see the chef smile sincerely as he prepares this off-menu dish. A cathartic moment, which rekindles the chef's passion and which sees in Margot's clear and authentic satisfaction not only the happiness of a cook who sees his work recognized, but also the sincere affection of a person towards food, which goes beyond shot to be shared on social networks but takes shape with gestures of spontaneous enjoyment of the sandwich. In recognizing Julian's expertise in his work, Margot finds her salvation, obtaining, in the tradition of catering, the possibility of being able to finish her sandwich elsewhere.

The Menù: a bitter ending

The final scenes in which we witness the completion of the final rite of Slovik while Margot tastefully finishes her now safe cheeseburger, are the quintessence of Mylod's film. A ferocious critique of the dehumanizing mechanics of work, embodied by the reach Il Massacro, and the apathetic enjoyment of the simplest experiences, now enslaved to continuous social sharing and considered not an emotion but a manifestation of status symbol. T he tragic dinner organized by Juliana Slowitz is a cry of suffering surrender from a man who has suffered and, let's not deny it, imposed these inhuman laws while becoming both a victim and part of the executioner mechanism that he now wants to punish in his last act of surrender. A message that is made even more alive by the unexpected presence of Margot, a kindred soul to the chef who, unlike the man, now broken, can still find his own salvation by moving away from this crazy dynamic while preserving his own identity.

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