The Menu movie meaning: Margot & the cheeseburger

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The Menu is a 2022 movie directed by Mark Mylod. As one of the year’s most successful films, it fascinated people with the surprising plot and the conceptual content behind the event. Therefore, viewers had many questions about the meaning of the movie: why did Margot leave? What’s the symbol behind the cheeseburger, and why did it save her life? We already explained in this article that there is even a true story experienced by one of the writers, Will Tracy. Instead, this article will delve into the movie’s conceptual meaning and have the ending explained.

You can watch the official trailer for the movie The Menu here on Youtube.

The meaning of the movie The Menu: Margot, the cheeseburger, and the ending explained

In The Menu, Chef Julian Slowik offers his guests a unique experience: an exclusive dinner at Hawthorn, his restaurant on an island, dedicated to a few special people. At some point, we understand that Slowik plans to kill everybody on the island that night, including the restaurant’s staff and himself. We get to understand the motive that moved his actions and why each of those guests is present. But there is an inconvenience: Tyler Ledford, one of those who worship Chef Slowik, was aware that everybody was supposed to die that night, and he intentionally joined to enjoy this unique experience (which included death) together with her partner, Miss Westervelt. But she broke up with him shortly before, so she paid an escort to go to that dinner with him, knowing that she would die that night together with the others.

That creates a dilemma for Chef Slowik because his plan to kill everyone follows a specific sense, and all guests there were supposed to be a carefully chosen part of “the menu,” the experience which includes death. Margot wasn’t part of the plan, and the Chef has no reason to believe she deserves to die, although everybody’s death is part of The Menu experience, and without it, there would be no closure that “ties everything together conceptually,” as sous-chef Katherine Keller explains at some point.

But let’s start with the questions to facilitate the comprehension of the meaning of The Menu.

Why Chef Slowik plans to kill all guests, staff, and himself?

Chef Slowik is disgusted by the way his life lost all purposes: he ended up preparing dishes of exceptional quality for people he doesn’t really know, who often don’t even appreciate it. He lost the pleasure of cooking for someone and ultimately hates his life. Each guest present at that dinner represents a reason why his life is miserable: the food critic who destroyed many careers, the amatorial foodies who dissolved the magic of cuisine, the capitalists who cheat the system, and even his own drunk mother. By killing everybody, he gives everybody what they deserve.

Why did Margot leave?

Margot doesn’t necessarily belong to the very reasons why Chef Slowik’s life is worthless. That’s why he wants to know her better: he’s looking for a reason she deserves to die as well because he doesn’t want to feel guilty about the death of an innocent. Around the end of the movie, after Margot called help with the chef’s radio, he believes he finds the reason why she should die just in the fact that she “betrayed their trust,” but that’s obviously a weak reason: Margot was only trying to save his life, and that’s totally understandable, even more if we assume she has nothing to do with Slowik’s existence. Therefore, the moral dilemma about whether it’s fair or not for Margot to die is still up in Chef Slowik.

How does Margot escape? What’s the meaning of the cheeseburger in The Menu?

When she enters Chef Slowik’s apartment, Margot discovers several pictures of him. He never looks happy, except in one photo, when he’s a young employee with a big smile, the employee of the year, in a burger place. Margot is clever: she understands that Slowik is still not at ease with the idea that she will have to die as well, she knows the importance of “an experience” in his mindset, and she also knows (he told her) that he no longer enjoys his job because he lost the pleasure of cooking for the others. All that, added up to the smile she saw on his face while making burgers, gave her the idea that would save her life.

Margot complains to the Chef. She states clearly that the food she received that night was not made of love but was the result of an obsession. And she’s still hungry. Therefore, she makes an official request: a real, authentic, simple cheeseburger with fries. Chef Slowik is hit on his sensitivity: he used to be driven by love, and it’s the first time somebody complains about this aspect in many years. He returns to the kitchen and prepares the best cheeseburger he has ever made, and we can clearly see the passion in his eyes.

He personally serves the burger to Margot, and he’s delighted to see that she loves it. Margot asks him to “have the rest to go,” and Chef Slowik realizes that she deserves to live: she allowed him to have a pleasant experience, rediscovering the joy of cooking, and that’s enough proof of the fact that she doesn’t deserve to die like the others. Slowik allows her to take the cheeseburger to go and leave the island.

The Menu ending explained

At the ending of the movie The Menu, the restaurant proposes the dessert, a symbol of the ruin of the art of food: a combination of unbalanced tastes and industrial-grade elements that society transformed into comfort food for the purity of children. Considering this the ultimate assault on the art he dedicated his life to, Chef Slowik uses the flame needed for that dessert to purify them all. Including the guests and the kitchen staff, becoming an active part of the dessert as they will die in the fire that will destroy the whole restaurant.

In the ending scene, we see Margot surviving the explosion that killed everybody, eating the well-deserved cheeseburger from the boat. She survives because she doesn’t deserve to die, and precisely because of that, she is the one who fought more than everybody to save her life. The cheeseburger was the trick she came up with to convince Chef Slowik to let her go: by giving him a chance to cook with pleasure for the last time, she proved to him that she had nothing to do with his plan for that night. In that scene, we can clearly see the real meaning of The Menu, explained in images.

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