Film Critic, Movie Blog, Movie Reviews

The Founder (2016)

Directed: John Lee Hancock  Rated: PG-13  Runtime: 1h 55m  Studio: TWC   Screenwriter: Robert Siegel  Cast: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini, Laura Dern, Patrick Wilson

The Founder follows the life-changing meetup of Ray Kroc (Keaton) and the McDonalds brothers. Highlighting the rise of instant gratification, meeting consumerism, and the billion-dollar-a-year business it all gave rise to; under the golden glow of some arches. 

In 1954 Ray Kroc was a desperate, terrible salesman. He saw potential buyers as dollar signs, nothing more. His only sales pitch never connected to those he attempted to sell milkshake machines. Except for one place, it wasn’t because Ray was a good salesman. 

John Carroll Lynch, Nick Offerman, and Michael Keaton in ‘The Founder’ Image Credit: TWC via

That big sale was to Dick (Offerman) and Mac (Lynch) McDonald’s restaurant in Southern California, the co-owners of the legitimately first McDonald’s hamburger joint. They liked what they had, appreciated that it worked (with proper oversight), and were content with their creation. Ray, on the other hand, saw potential and lots of dollar signs. That’s part of the ‘American dream,’ right? Why be content when you can be rich?

In the film, Ray aims to get the brothers to franchise and to see things his way. But they always say no. Some see the brothers as stubborn fools, but they aren’t; greed wasn’t their thing. They were happy, and Ray couldn’t understand this because nothing satisfied him.

‘The Founder’ Image: TWC via

That’s what The Founder boils down to, an antagonist who didn’t understand contentment and protagonists who were blind to how deep ambition went, what Ray calls persistence.

The casting for The Founder is superb. Offerman and Lynch are so in-tune with their characters and how they play off one another. It’s seamless. Keaton does a marvelous job of playing well–the walking personification of a greedy dick. 

Michael Keaton in ‘The Founder’ Image: TWC via

Films based on a true story are only sometimes well done, let alone accurate, but the essence of the characters in this movie is spot on. It’s an excellent example of a cautionary tale of what happens to the “little guy” when legal loopholes, someone else’s vision, and manipulation play a role in a takeover. 

Cinematically this film is well-directed, edited, and flows logically from one part to the next. It’s easy to watch and compelling enough of a story to keep viewers engaged. I found it interesting, and I don’t even like McDonald’s. I haven’t eaten there in almost 20 years. Not every bio epic is done well, but The Founder is and is worth a place on your watchlist. 

A Pen Lady