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The Founder Movie Review

Reviewed by on Jan 21, 2017
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Kidzworld checked out The Founder, the film about how McDonalds became the humungous, world-wide restaurant chain we know today. Was the man who made it grow a good or bad guy? Check the review.

By: Lynn Barker

In The Founder, it's the early 1950’s and salesman Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) was barely making it selling big milkshake blenders to drive-in restaurants. When he got a big order from a successful California restaurant, he checked the place out. It was run by two bros named McDonald and they had this crazy new idea; make people walk up and order, serve only hamburgers, fries and drinks and get them made super fast!

Ray (Michael Keaton) with his milkshake mixerRay (Michael Keaton) with his milkshake mixerCourtesy of The Weinstein Company

The Salesman

Ray Kroc always had a scheme, some new doohickey that he’d get people to invest in but nothing really stuck. When he got a big order for a bunch of his big milkshake blenders from a small San Bernardino, Ca. walk-up restaurant run by the McDonald brothers (Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch) he drove there from Illinois to check it out. He was wowed at how fast and efficient the place was. Not popular at the time, was the fact that people didn’t drive up their cars and wait to be waited on. They just walked up and ordered and the assembly line kitchen worked with the speed of light.

The original McDonald brothersThe original McDonald brothersCourtesy of The Weinstein Company

Spreading Out

Ray has an idea.. let’s have McDonald's all over America and beyond. The bros had already tried it on a small scale. They were control freaks who didn’t like the quality going down in restaurants where they couldn’t personally oversee things. None-the-less, Ray uses their love of families and the American Dream to get them to agree. He goes back to Illinois and starts franchising McDonald's everywhere…. getting people to buy in and agree to run them. He has signed a deal with the bros but keeps getting “better” ideas they don’t like.

Ray is shocked when he first sees McDonaldsRay is shocked when he first sees McDonaldsCourtesy of The Weinstein Company

Different Styles

Ray is all high energy salesman and the bros are low key and slow-moving. They drive one another nuts! Ray risks his marriage and mortgages his home to get the franchises started. Almost out of money but with more and more McDonald's being started, Ray is approached with a new idea.

Ray and his wife have a strained relationshipRay and his wife have a strained relationshipCourtesy of The Weinstein Company

Own the Land

A financial consultant tells Ray he needs to own the land each McDonald's is built on then lease it out to the new owners of each restaurant. Then he has a say and can shape them up or kick them out as he sees fit. Of course the McDonald brothers hate this.  They run restaurants, not real estate! But, Ray starts his own real estate company and does just what he wants. It is successful. So much so that he is able to pressure the brothers to bow out and sell out the company they created.  Who will get credit for starting the whole thing? The guys with their names on the restaurants or the ruthless businessman who grew them into a huge international chain?

Ray celebrates the opening of a new locationRay celebrates the opening of a new locationCourtesy of The Weinstein Company

Wrapping Up

The Founder is a really interesting film with an amazing acting job by Oscar-winning actor Michael Keaton but it isn’t for tweens or really young teens.  It does show you step by step how a famous business grew and, morally, it shows us how not to treat our business partners if we have any decency. The film is a great slice of Americana, a blast from the past featuring an American, now world-wide eatery that we can all recognize.

Ray meets the man who tells him to buy landRay meets the man who tells him to buy landCourtesy of The Weinstein Company

The movie is also a great study of a frustrated, desperate man who saw a chance to make it big but, in the process, trampled better men along the way. If you like to learn how things tick, how businesses grow even if not always in a fair manner, The Founder provides it all. But, despite its PG-13 rating, unless you are a thinking, curious older teen, the film will be too slow and too packed with big business terms and the like to hold interest throughout.  The Founder is a really good movie for adults but for teens we can only go three stars.

The Founder Movie Rating:3

The Founder Movie PosterThe Founder Movie PosterCourtesy of The Weinstein Company

The Founder is in theaters now!


Have Your Say

Have you eaten at McDonalds all your life? Ever wonder how it got started and why it's all over the world? Talk about it below.