Ever wondered who the real McDonalds were behind the massive global chain? In The Founder, the director John Lee Hancock tells the story of how Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) weaselled his way into a local burger shop in San Bernardino, CA and took the burger automation system developed by the McDonald brothers from one shop in California to a global sensation.
On face value, the story behind the burger chain may seem to be boring – especially if you don’t consider yourself as a McDonald’s consumer. However, the movie introduces the real founding fathers of this chain – Maurice ‘Mac’ McDonald (John Carroll Lynch) and Richard ‘Dick’ McDonald (Nick Offerman). Kroc’s role in the stellar growth of the brand is undeniable – however, it comes with a massive personal price.
Laura Dern is perfect as the doting, subservient (and confused) wife of Ray Kroc – whilst Keaton seems to again, be able to slip very comfortably into whatever role that is given to him. His Ray Kroc is a flawed tenacious and ambitious man – a visionary who can spot a hidden opportunity, but oblivious to the personal destruction that his ambition brings.
The Founder also teaches a valuable lesson – whilst you should always be kind, hardworking and high-achieving – you should also be careful not to end up being a gullible stepping stone for somebody slimy.