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HomeentertainmentMovie NewsHow 'The Menu' Explores Self and Exploitation in Fine Dining

How 'The Menu' Explores Self and Exploitation in Fine Dining

[This article contains spoilers from SearchlightThe Menu. ]

In The Menu, by Remote destination restaurant Hawthorn is as important as a well-crafted plate.

As chef Julian Slowik of

Ralph Fiennes finally revealed, it was As the curated tasting menu explores: All diners come together for a final night of hunger—the corruption of power, relevance, money, love, and more.

“We did misrepresent them. They had a very rough night,” director Mark Mylod about how the film reveals what lured guests into Hawthorn’s deadly trap. “But to be honest, I never thought about eating rich people. To me, this story is a real character study of flawed people. It’s really a real exploration of why they do what they do? Why are they in Where? What choices did they make? How did their ego and entitlement bring us to this place and get them hooked based on their ideology?”

for The event was handpicked, each representing a different version of immorality and (abrasive) privilege, and diners included a wealthy couple, a food critic and her publisher, a foodie and a sex worker, three Tech bro and an outdated actor and his assistant.

Hawthorn dinner guests at The Menu
Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

“We discussed, ‘A restaurant like Hawthorn What is the archetype of the people in it? It’s the rich techie, the food celebrity,” producer Betsy Koch told The Hollywood Reporter at the New York premiere. ). “We had this idea because Will Tracy — who wrote the movie and Seth Reiss — is a huge foodie. He goes to a lot of these restaurants. He Like you can literally picture different people around you.”

This is an unrestricted group, as actress Hong Chau points out, through literal “The Black and White Way” on “Hollywood has historically talked about “haves and have-nots.”

“It’s not just wagging the finger at old white people because it’s a bit simplistic and simplify. There are so many people from all walks of life occupying privileged spaces,” she said. “I love John Leguizamo as the aging movie star and tech bro who could just as easily have been three athletic white guys .

Throughout the evening, each of the group had to confront what the director described as their own “sin” – Mylod says it was the chef’s “mea culpa “Conclusion” six months ago.

“It’s a character, when we find him completely drowning and drowning in self-loathing, and trying to explode somehow, but also, paradoxically, this It’s a moral level that’s actually meant to compensate for his own corrupted ego and his abuse of his own power,” the director said. “He’s doing all he can to atone. Obviously, he can’t, but he can at least have them.”

Ralph Fiennes at The Menu Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

According to Fiennes, for the cook he succumbed to self-satisfaction, his journey tells the story of “an obsessive-compulsive narcissist” wanting The tension between perfection and the pursuit of perfection. Moral clarity.

“He’s a guy who started out with a very pure desire to cook or bring food to people, and I think he hates himself because he’s clearly a Genius, but he allowed himself to be very distant,” the actor explained. “What I like is the complexity. He doesn’t like what he’s doing. He doesn’t like where he’s going. There’s a real conflict within him, and he wants power and control, but on a deeper level, he’s for that. Despise yourself.”

It’s not just that desire to flatter and authority that has brought him and his guest to this moment. Viewers learned that he was involved in harassing a female subordinate, a sous chef named Catherine (Christina Brocato), who was revealed to have conceived the twisted concept and explosive finale of the night.

“With gender dynamics in the kitchen, we wanted Catherine to talk about what it’s like to be a young woman trying to navigate an incredibly male-dominated industry. Day by Day How tough it is to perform at that level and put that much pressure on you,” Koch explained.

This thread is one of the most direct connections to diners and the film’s larger exploration of gender in food. A wealthy elderly man whose dark secret is the essence of his gross infidelity, Reed Birney , Richard, had previously sexually harmed another attendee of the night.

The two were responsible for their misconduct, but in markedly different ways, with the latter eventually being forced to lose his wedding ring finger. For Birney, Julian’s decision to take responsibility versus Richard’s decision goes beyond the chef’s connection to the underpaid service staff. “When people of my generation misbehave, they’ve gotten away with it for a long time,” he said. “The first impulse is to deny, maybe the younger generation is used to confessing.”

Judith Light

John Leguizamo at The Menu Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures
The cast of Searchlight's The Menu

John Leguizamo stars as George, an aging action star inspired by Steven Seagal Seagal, who lost his artistic authenticity amid a decline in industry interest and control over his career. It’s something that Julian, now and in the future, can relate to — and fear.

“There’s something toxic about them both, one of his bad qualities is narcissism. He’s vain and that’s part of his downfall. The reason he’s there One was showing off. He was on oxygen there,” Leguizamo said, before noting that his character’s “sins” were slightly different from those of the others in the room. “Others were really scumbags, but this guy — you feel a little bit of a pity because he’s a loser. He’s an action star who’s gone behind the scenes, for a guy who was at the top of their game and then not anymore. Say, there are some very sad and tragic things.”

While the film has plenty of bad guys, it doesn’t limit its critical eye to one gender privilege and abuse. There are also several women in the film, all of whom earned their seats. Judith Light, who plays Richard’s wife Anne, sees her character as a woman who desperately clings to her “self-esteem, her place in the world, her rights, her wealth and what she thinks she The lifestyle we want to have.”

“We allow ourselves to say nothing, nothing,” Wright said of the female diners, with one exception. “[2021Anya Taylor-Joy’s Margot] Many others Women let it go, but they feel like they want it.”

Light noted that despite class and other differences, these women developed bonds and camaraderie. Yes For Anne, it made her realize that it “takes her power back in some ways”. But in the end, just like men, these women’s entitlement and inability to lift their own fingers is their downfall.

“They acted in a way that they thought would get what they wanted,” Light said. “But everyone in the movie, as Anya says, is hungry. They have wants, needs, cravings, but they can’t solve them in the way they’ve been trying to solve.”


Judith Light in The Menu
Provided by Searchlight Pictures

Although literally and figuratively, this hunger Both exist at Hawthorn’s front door, and The Menu is also interested in exploring hunger and power through the back of the house. As Catherine’s storyline reveals, the place is also toxic, fueled by powerful people like Slovik and those willing to work in a place that consumes them in more than one way.

“We all have a huge anxiety about perfectionism, and I think the industry that propagates the highest level of perfectionism is full of irony and horror because people forget about themselves,” Iraq Mori said Tobman, Production Designer on The Menu’. “They just want the chef to promote them, take notice – and they resent him when he takes their ideas and makes them his own.”

This drive and desperation gain power in the culinary world at great personal cost in the many shocking moments involving Hawthorn’s kitchen staff. In one sequence, Slowik’s second-in-command, Elsa (Chau), fights to the death with Taylor-Joy’s Margot to keep what actress Chau calls the chef’s “ride or die.”

“I wanted to make sure my character Elsa felt like she was super smart and capable and proud of what she did. I saw her as a political candidate People’s campaign manager. She is very proud of what they have accomplished and accomplished together and will not let anything stand in the way of that,” she said. “There’s something really deep in it – even though it’s a fight scene and a fun action scene.”

For The Menu team, exploring the hunger and corrosiveness that permeates the entire culinary ecosystem is one of its ultimate goals.

“The kitchen toxicity you hear from the industry hierarchy is also a response to customer toxicity and their reaction to the food,” Tobman points out.


Ralph Fiennes and Hong Chau in The Menu
Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

Ralph Fiennes

“One of the things we want people to understand when they watch this movie is the different levels of slavery and exploitation and how it works in an industry like this – seeing people put their body and soul into That type of work,” added producer Koch. “We almost wanted to somehow implicate the audience in making them look more closely at their actions.”

The Menu Now in theaters.



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