The Menu Ending Explained – What connects all the diners at Hawthorn?

The Menu Plot Synopsis

n that sense of interpretation, The Menu serves as a cautionary tale for the decaying state of things. Debauchery in the dining circles is washed with words like opportunity, lifestyle, and a terrible want for perfection. But keeping all that aside, the most enjoyable part about The Menu is its sharp, unabashedly deadpan humour.

With so many ideas poured into one film, things are bound to get a little challenging to follow. But do not worry, for we are here! This ending explainer of The Menu is a dedicated piece to dissect the film from all angles and give you answers to its most burning mysteries like why was Margot allowed to leave, what The Menu is about, and why Slowik went on a witch-hunt. Happy reading!

What connects all the diners at Hawthorn?

Perceived guilt, in the eyes of Slowik. Each of them represented a deadly sin in his reckoning. By destroying them, he was destroying what they represented. There are some traits that all the diners share which are apparent to the viewers. Money, privilege, and a corrupted moral fabric; all of them go along very nicely with forming a common opinion about it. The diners did not really have a connection. Margot and Richard’s connection was purely coincidental as she was never meant to be there.

All of this was careful planning on Slowik’s end. He made sure that he got each of his diners’ history right and deemed them to be corrupted. They were the collective cabal that destroyed his happiness and what he loved doing. All of them combined were an institute that led to Julian Slowki’s eventual disregard for food and life.

Why does Tyler commit suicide and why did Slowik not save him?

You’d think that Tyler was in some ways special. He was different from the other bougies who could not care less about the food. He even knew what a Pacojet was! But why was he not spared? What did the chef say in his ear that forced him to commit suicide? Well, we do not have an exact answer to what he said. But we do have a reasonable presumption as to what he said and what eventually compelled Tyler to hang himself. And the “why” as well.

Tyler always saw himself as an exception to the crowd. He felt entitled to a certain kind of respect even, from Slowik, for his apparent “appreciation” of his art. An instance of him violating the rule and exercising his perceived entitlement was when he started clicking pictures of the food.  Elsa had clearly forbade anyone from doing it. She even singled him out on one occasion. But he still went ahead with it.

Another instance came when Slowik sent all the male diners on a manhunt. He was the only male who stood his ground and did not participate, thinking Slowik will spare him. He seemed calm and enjoyed the food when everything around him was falling to pieces. That was his ultimate sin. When you see the tortillas, you see a picture of him clicking those photos. His fatal pitfall was thinking the rules did not apply to him and that he was special without having any virtue other than adulation. Because, when it came to him preparing the food, we all saw what happened.

What is wrong with Chef Slowik? What explains his actions?

Well, the true story behind the creation of The Menu does not explain what it means justly. The creators got the idea that the people want to eat the rich. The Menu is their escapist fantasy to indulge in that desire. A formerly pleasant simpleton invites those unlike him to an island to kill them. It is his revenge for turning him into them. But his conflict with Margot was because he saw her as someone like whom he was before; when he loved being a chef.

The fundamental element in any food is love. Without it, the food just does not taste that well. Love comes from an appreciation of things and unfortunately, Slowik had lost it in the process of perfecting his art. For him, the culinary was the life he breathed, slept, and dreamt of. There was a moment when a diner used the word “burned out”. But Slowik never feared that day. That would mean he was not able to work anymore. This felt different to him.

We see that he started off as a burger frier working at a fast food chain. The simple pleasure of making a hamburger, cheeseburger, or fries made his customers light up with joy. Customer delight was why he fell in love. But soon enough, most probably when he acquired the restaurant, his priorities changed. They were no longer to please the people. It became an obsession for him.

Moreover, his customers did not appreciate the work he put in. In Slowik’s eyes, food became “what turned into sh*t in their guts”. They lost respect for the food he prepared and instead clamored to see the experience of being attached to him and his restaurant as a sign of status and symbol. This is why he hates them and perhaps took the decision to kill them all. And himself.

Why does Slowik allow Margot to bring the barrel and not Elsa?

This was a pivotal scene in the film. Slowik was intrigued with Margot from the start. Apart from the obvious problem that she was not “supposed” to be on the island (given how the film ends), the Chef still couldn’t figure her out. She was the only one who was not eating his food. She was the only one who showed any real grit & street-smart when it came to finding solutions.

Actually, the answer to this question lies in the scene when Slowik calls Margot into his office. That is when he asks her if she is a giver or a taker. This basically refers to the question: will she blindly follow his orders, or will she try to escape? It is a direct reference to the service industry and how toxicity is disguised as professionalism in the workplace.

But, she does not take that avenue of opportunity. She does not escape and comes back to save her fellow diners. This was an insult in his eyes & tainted Margot’s otherwise relative superiority.

Why does Slowik only allow Margot to leave Hawthorn?

The film’s ending was quite a thrilling ride. It went from one direction and tone to a complete turnaround where we got some really unexpected things. We waited with bated breath as Margot sat in judgment when her plan to radio for help did not go as intended. She did use the radio in Slowik’s house and did not escape the island when she had the chance. An officer came and initially, it seemed that Slowik and his understudies will be apprehended and the diners will be safe.

But it turned out that the officer was in fact Dale, someone from Slowik’s kitchen. We then knew that Margot would not have a second chance and would die with the other diners. Something she saw from Slowik’s personal room in the house struck her and she experimented. She saw a photo of Slowik as a burger flipper. She perhaps concluded that it was in that moment he fell in love with making food for other people.

Unpretentious, delicious food that brought a smile to his takers’ faces. Having not had a sliver of food all night, she stumped Slowik when she suddenly makes the request for a cheeseburger the iconic American fast-food staple holding a sacred place in the continent’s cuisine. Everyone is surprised but Slowik is pleasantly so. He takes the request on the chin and starts preparation. Artistically, it reveals the entire soul of The Menu and why Slowik became a crude man.

He sports a smile, for the first time, when he flattens the patties and grills them. This is what he enjoyed doing and Margot gave him the opportunity to experience that love again. “That’s a cheeseburger” is the kind of statement completely detached from pretense or falsehood that signifies a purity of emotion for the American consumers. She did not say how she liked the cheeseburger because Slowik was not looking for adulation, appreciation, or any compliments.

He just wanted the experience of eating food and what it meant to his “takers” to mean something again. But the others die in an explosion that Margot watches from the other end, eating her cold cheeseburger like nothing happened. The idea of her eating in that moment showed how she was really hungry throughout the evening and only satiated her hunger by having an American classic. Perhaps the most badass, signature way to end affairs!


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