The Menu Ending, Explained (In Detail)

What happens at the end of this Anya Taylor-Joy dark comedy? We've got you covered
The Menu Ending Explained
The Menu Ending Explained

In The Menu, a delicious dark comedy directed by Succession regular Mark Mylod, viewers find out that the guests assembled at a fine-dining island establishment are about to be served much more than they bargained for. It’s gradually revealed that each of them – financiers, food critics, egotistical foodies – have drained the passion out of chef Slowick’s (Ralph Fiennes) work. Over a tasting course of fancy, frou-frou, intricate-bordering-on-pretentious dishes, he explains to them how his art has come to be commodified over the years, how little satisfaction cooking gives him now. The film is not only a satire of food snobbery, critiquing patrons with heavy wallets and no discerning palettes, but also an examination of the inherent power imbalance between waitstaff and diners in any service industry and a more personal exploration of what it means to trade the pure joy of artistry for the prospect of commercial viability.   

What snaps Slowick out of his frenzy?

It all comes down to a single, well-made cheeseburger.

An increasingly unhinged Slowick holds the diners hostage, incrementally frightening them into believing there’s no hope of escape from the island. First, he recalls an incident that reveals him to have had a deeply troubled childhood, discomfiting his guests who’ve been conditioned to expect catered, curated comforts. Then, he lets each of his diners know that he’s unearthed all of their deepest secrets, from financial fraud to marital infidelity. Finally, he has them play a twisted game of hide-and-seek across the island, knowing his staff can and will track them down with ease.

The Menu Ending Explained
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As he’s playing his deranged games, wily diner Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) breaks into his house and finds a radio, which she uses to send out a distress signal. She also spies an old photo of the chef – at his first job, at the griddle with a spatula in hand and, most crucially, with a huge smile on his face. Long before he became a jaded professional, producing a conveyor belt of rarefied cuisine, this is what made him happy, she realizes.

Returning to the restaurant, Margot discovers that her call for help has brought a Coast Guard officer to the restaurant. The diners are momentarily relieved until it’s revealed that the officer too is in on Slowick’s plot, and has no intention of rescuing any of them. Once he leaves, however, Margot thinks back to the old photo she saw of the chef and begins to formulate a plan for escape.

Clapping her hands loudly – a technique Slowick uses to signal order among his waitstaff – Margot claims to be dissatisfied with the chef’s food and demands that he make her a dish of her choice. She wants a single, perfect cheeseburger. Traditional, not deconstructed or avant garde, with fries on the side. Slowick relishes the challenge – it’s been a while since he cooked with feeling instead of intellect, with love instead of obsession.

How does Margot escape in The Menu's Ending?

When the burger is served, Margot takes a bite. It’s perfect. However, sensing that this is the moment to escape, she tells Slowick that her eyes were bigger than her stomach and she’d like the rest of the meal to go. It’s a risky gamble that pays off. He boxes up Margot’s food for her and she leaves, but not before casting one last glance at the doomed diners.

As she sails away from the island on a speedboat, Slowick and his crew douse the rest of their guests in chocolate, put marshmallows on their heads and then set them on fire – their twisted version of the classic dish Smores. In becoming the sole survivor, Margot has become the one of the classic tropes of horror movies – the Final Girl. She pulls out the burger from her bag and takes another bite. 

Watch The Menu - Official Trailer

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