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The Menu is a new movie directed by Mark Mylod that functions as a commentary on humanity's current relationship with food and the effects that "foodie culture" has had on the industry as a whole.
Starring an ensemble cast that includes Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult of The Great, among others, the production is a riveting watch that is currently streamable on HBO Max.
WHAT IS THE MENU ABOUT?
The Menu, which originally premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September of 2022 to much praise, focuses on celebrity chef Julian Slowik (Ralph), who operates his exclusive restaurant, Hawthorne, on a private island.
Watchers are immediately introduced to a group of elite guests who are invited to dine at Hawthorne for a whopping $1,250 per person (yes, that's a commentary on our relationship with "must-try" restaurants all around the world).
Among the invited diners is a food critic with her editor, a movie star with his personal assistant, a wealthy couple, a number of business partners, and Nicholas' character Tyler, who initially signs up for the experience with a specific guest but ends up taking Margot (Anya), an escort that he hires after his girlfriend breaks up with him.
Fans immediately realize that the entire experience is not peaceful and certainly not as straightforward as a regular evening at a restaurant usually is. In fact (spoiler alert!), most guests are aware that the night will end in their own deaths.
Tyler specifically hangs himself following the shame brought upon him by Julian, who reprimands him when he struggles to make anything remotely edible and for bringing Margot along in the first place.
Given that Margot, however, was not officially invited to the island, audience members spend the entire movie wondering what will happen to the character.
THE MENU ENDING EXPLAINED
Chef Julian decides to give Margot a choice once it becomes apparent that she was not the person that was supposed to accompany Tyler on his journey.
The culinary guru asks Margot whether she prefers to be a part of the customers or join his servers. While opting for the latter, the character tries to call the outside world for help - an eventuality that Julian has already accounted for and ends up backfiring.
Margot then comes up with a plan and surprises everyone when she tells Julian that his food isn't up to par and decides to send it back - something that virtually no other guest at Hawthorne has ever done.
She calls his dishes too "smart" and sophisticated and instead orders a straightforward cheeseburger. When the food arrives, she has a single bite of it and then asks Julian if she could take the rest to go. He allows her to.
The movie ends with Margot storming off the private island while Julian and his staff are seen preparing the last course for the remaining guests: a special version of s'mores that sees the actual diners dressed in the ingredients. At that point, the entire restaurant is set on fire.
HOW TO WATCH THE MENU
The nearly two-hour-long The Menu is currently available for streaming on HBO Max so anyone with a subscription can start watching the captivating movie immediately.
This means that if you are in the UK, you may struggle to access the show unless you have a VPN (a virtual private network). VPNs are a popular way to access TV shows only available in other countries, and many are easy to get.
If you're already confused, don't panic - we've got you covered. Our sister site, TechRadar, has put every major VPN service to the test to save you the hassle of sifting through the web yourself. They've rated ExpressVPN as the best - and here's why.
In their words, "It’s compatible with all of your devices, supports most streaming services, and ranks among the fastest. You can even install it on devices like an Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Xbox, and PlayStation. So for a one-stop-shop, you can’t go wrong with Express."
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Ranked among one of the fastest VPN providers, this risk-free service is also compatible with all of your devices. Enjoy access to almost any streaming service, and if you don't like it there's a 30-day money-back guarantee.
If you've never installed a VPN before, don't worry, it's quick and easy. Just follow these three steps:
- Download and install the VPN following ExpressVPN (opens in new tab)'s easy-to-follow instructions (ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money back guarantee (opens in new tab) and if you click here you can get 49% off and 3 months free (opens in new tab), too.)
- Once you've installed your VPN, open the app and select your server location to anywhere in the US.
- With your VPN installed and server location set to US or the UK you can access Hulu.
Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.
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