In this section of the Colossus Movie Guide for The Menu, we will discuss the meaning behind the movie’s title.
Why is the movie called The Menu?
This is an interesting one. On the most superficial level, the title refers simply to what’s being served at the Hawthorne restaurant that night. Specifically, it’s the chef’s tasting menu. So no one is ordering anything. Everyone gets exactly the same thing. This is pretty common in high-end restaurants. The Japanese have their style of this meal called an “omakase” that translates to “I leave it up to you.” As in: chef’s choice. Which makes sense, as The Menu focuses so much on chef Julian Slowik and what he’s ultimately trying to express through food. The menu is a translation of his anger, frustration, cynicism, and sadness. As the patrons “taste” what he’s offering them, they all kind of give over to the chef’s desire for death. To the point of not even fighting him at the end.
We can try to extrapolate this a little further. Through the menu, Julian makes a point about himself and his customers. Each of the customers represents something wrong with the culinary arts. The wealthy couple who don’t even appreciate or remember what they’re eating (Richard and Anne Liebbrandt). The obsessive who knows everything but contributes nothing (Tyler). The critics who are over the top and take the joy out of eating (Lillian Bloom). The money guys who value the price of what they’re eating more than the food itself (Soren, Bryce, Dave). Or the artist who has given up on and cashed in their craft (George Diaz).
We see that reflected in the courses. Like the bread course that doesn’t include bread because the customers don’t deserve it. That’s just the start of a string of dishes that punish the patrons for being there. Concluding, of course, with the s’more and everyone burning.
With that in mind, you can maybe read the title as less about the superficial aspect of eating in the restaurant and more about the menu being a commentary on the people who ruin art. Not just culinary arts. Every industry has their equivalents. I would imagine a lot of what’s being said in The Menu is actually about the movie industry. And the way in which these various archetypal people can steal the love an artist had for their craft.
What are your thoughts?
Is there more information about the title that you think should be part of the Colossus Movie Guide for The Menu? Leave a comment below and we’ll consider adding your thoughts to the guide.