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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Talks at length about artistry and the mysterious, complex connection between art, an artist, and consumers of art. Artists can lose their passion, but audiences can also ruin the work with a lack of appreciation -- or an overly fastidious appreciation. Seems to argue that simplicity, passion, and love are best, while prestige, wealth, and fame can only spoil things.
Positive Role Models
Margot is the first character to show skepticism toward the movie's strange situation -- and the first to stand up for what's right and to try to save herself (and, hopefully, the others). She has a rebellious, devil-may-care attitude. She's not exactly admirable, but she's a fighter.
A woman is the main character. Among the male and female diners, there are two Asian men, a Black man, and a Latino man; one woman presents as Latina. All are shown to be flawed or crooked in various ways. Among the chefs, there are a few women (one is Asian), but many are White men; head chef is a White man.
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Violence & Scariness
Character shoots self in head: huge blood spurt, blood on floor. Person's finger chopped off, bloody wound. Person stabbed in thigh with scissors. Characters fight over knife; one is stabbed in the neck, gurgling blood. Person hangs self with necktie. Someone is drowned. Another person burns in flames. Other characters die. Chase through woods. Woman jumping at man, slapping him. Explosion.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Dialogue about sexual advances. Brief dialogue about infidelity.
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Several uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," "Jesus f---ing Christ," "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," "goddamn," "badass," "pr--k," "hell," "whore," and "oh my God." "Jesus Christ," "Jesus," and "Christ" used as exclamations.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Diners drink wine throughout, sometimes to excess. Main character smokes cigarettes. Brief mention of a character having a DUI.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Menu is a horror comedy about a couple (Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult) dining at an exclusive, high-end restaurant where the chef (Ralph Fiennes) has something sinister cooking. It's a very satisfying combination of shocks, laughs, and ideas, and it's recommended to mature foodies. Expect gory moments, including blood spatters, a gunshot to the head, a severed finger, stabbing, hanging, a fight over a knife, gurgling blood, a character burning, and more death. Characters use words such as "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "a--hole," "goddamn," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation), and more, and there's some dialogue about sexual advances and infidelity. The main character occasionally smokes cigarettes, and all the diners drink wine, sometimes to excess. There's also a mention of a character having a DUI. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It's complete nonsense, but this very dark horror-comedy strikes just the right notes of stone-cold humor and red-hot malevolence, making for a delectable dish that satisfies all the way down. In The Menu, the guests, as Chef Julian points out directly, never make much of an attempt to save themselves. And even though viewers might find this frustrating, there's truth in their combination of sheer disbelief and sense of decorum. The movie's wicked genius lies not only in its execution but also in its ultimate themes. As the food keeps coming and small things are revealed, some of the guests continue to enjoy the show and eat; it's a fascinating psychological and social experiment. Where does perception end and reality begin?
And even though the ultimate plan in The Menu is a whopper of a doozy, the theme behind it is a thoughtful exploration of art, artists, and their complex relationship with consumers. The Menu balances gut-level humor and horror with higher-minded themes, all with a twinkle in its eye and a gleam of its blade. Fiennes plays the chef with a clever restraint and even a bit of fatigue (he recalls, ever so slightly, his take on Voldemort), forgoing the hints of madness that many other actors usually choose for villain roles. And Taylor-Joy projects strength and independence, indignant when her date tries to shush her by snapping his fingers ("Did you just snap at me?"). Director Mark Mylod, a small-screen veteran from Severance and Game of Thrones, keeps the small-scale, one-location movie feeling fluid and kinetic. Overall, it's a palate-pleaser.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.