The Founder: McDonald’s Isn’t What You Think It Is

Who would’ve thought I’d be amazed at watching The Founder. I sure didn’t know what it was until I saw Dan PeΓ±a’s YouTube vids.

I watched this movie last month and surprisingly found it to be a good movie. πŸ‘ Let me share what I think of it. Be warned though, there are some spoilers here so if you haven’t seen the movie, watch it first before you read the entirety of my review.

πŸ”ΈπŸ”Ά The Cast πŸ”ΆπŸ”Έ

Here are the major and some minor cast members.


β—™ Michael Keaton plays Ray Kroc

Ray Kroc is considered as McDonald’s “founder”.

β—™ B. J. Novak plays Harry J. Sonneborn

He’s the guy who played a pivotal role in making McDonald’s what it is today.

β—™ Linda Cardellini plays Joan Smith

She is a businesswoman, previously married to an upscale restaurant owner and also a McDonalds franchisee.

β—™ Laura Dern plays Ethel Fleming

She is the wife of Ray Kroc, until everything changed.

πŸ”ΈπŸ”Ά Trailer πŸ”ΆπŸ”Έ

If you have no idea what this movie is about, watch this trailer.

πŸ”ΈπŸ”Ά Spoiler Free Synopsis πŸ”ΆπŸ”Έ

In the beginning, we see Ray Kroc as a milkshake mixer machine salesman. He goes from place to place, talking to restaurant owners and nobody was buying from him. He also experienced how terrible their service are. One day, he checked his messages with his secretary and voila! Somebody ordered 6 machine milkshake mixers! Oh he thought they made a mistake so he called them and was told they actually needed more!

After the call, he decided to go on a long drive over to California and see for himself what restaurant would order so many machines. To his surprise he saw a totally different place to eat. There was a long line and a lot of people got their order in just a few minutes! Even when he ordered a burger, Ray could not believe how fast he got it. Eventually he decided to take the McDonald brothers, the fast food restaurant owners, to lunch and find out their story.


Some time after he heard everything, he decided he will be part of their business and offered to franchise it all over America. They signed a contract and franchises started popping up all over the country. And then the franchising issues started happening one by one too. Next thing you know he’s not able to pay for mortgage and we see him talking to the bank about it. Fortunately while he was arguing with the bank rep, someone overheard him and offered to help.

With his assistance, McDonald’s started to change into Ray Kroc’s own company. And the rest is history. πŸ™‚

πŸ”ΈπŸ”Ά ArtGirl’s Review πŸ”ΆπŸ”Έ

I didn’t expect to be surprised by The Founder. You know how I watch movies. I either don’t read anything about it beforehand or watch the trailer first. So the former happened and voila! What a story.

β—™ Characters & Story

It starts off really sad, Ray Kroc tries to sell milkshake mixer machines all over the place without getting any buyers. As a real estate agent and online seller, I can relate to the same struggles of talking to many people and being turned down. Sometimes they will even ridicule and insult you when you’re just doing your job same as they’re making a living. But of course, a sales career is not always depressing and filled with doom and gloom.


Enter the ray of hope, the McDonald brothers who own the busiest and newest California fast food restaurant in town. They order not 1 but 6 milkshake mixer machines. Oh wait no… It went up to 8! Wow, jackpot!

Ah so you see, I love stories like this. It’s really great to watch how it slowly unfolded. It’s a success story with a twist; it became a dog eat dog story near the end. (πŸ˜… Oooops. Is that spoiler enough for you?)

It’s one of the best business related movies out there. You don’t see such Hollywood films everyday. The twist for me, is not exactly near the end, but when I discovered what kind of business McDonalds really is. It came as a shock. Haha. I didn’t think it’d be related to what I’m doing.

As for character development, well they come off as real as possible. I didn’t find anything off or out of character from any of them. They all played an important part in making someone’s dream become worth way more than a billion dollar company.

The conflicts in the movie also happen in real life. Business people choose the bad over the good sometimes just to be successful. There are those who will choose to screw others over just to get ahead. Other times it will make you think, there’s a man who wanted more than just enough and went out to really do it. No mediocrity there… and lots of persistence.

All I can say is, take the good in any story and take out the bad if you would like to apply such in real life. Better for your soul to go to heaven than be successful on Earth but go to hell in the end.

β—™ Acting

Michael Keaton as we all know is known for playing Batman, Beetlejuice and even Birdman. It’s nice to see him being a simple salesman who then become one of the top businessmen to run and own a multi-billion dollar company. Nothing dramatic really but he played the man as well as he can.

For me, the most challenging acting role was played by Laura Dern. She showed depth in expressing the emotions of how a neglected and unappreciated wife feels.


It is always sad to witness how people change and become a mismatch after years of marriage. Both of them felt unappreciated and unsupported in the way they needed it.

As for the rest of the cast, they acted their parts out well. Even the McDonald brothers were believable. Suffice it to say, casting is perfect.

β—™ Cinematography, Production Design & Music

Now we come to my favorite part. Hehehe. As an artist of course I appreciate beautiful visuals. The Founder did not really dazzle me in this area. I may not be an expert in the era but the production design, costume and props are enough for me to feel like they are indeed in the 1950s. However there’s just something that’s missing and I can’t figure out what it is…

Actually since the story is the star of the movie, this part takes a back seat and is a subtle support in establishing a great story.

β—™ Rating

It’s the best movie for sales people, entrepreneurs and guess what else? πŸ˜‹ Haha, just watch it if you’re curious.

As for my final rating here we go:

  • Characters & Story: 10
  • Acting: 10
  • Cinematography, Production Design & Music: 8


Want some more? Here’s a sneak peak on The Founder and someone from the McDonald’s family.

Also as an aside, did you know Jeremy Renner has a company that produces movies? They helped make this story come to life. Thanks to them too, we now know the McDonald’s story. πŸ‘

So how about you? Have you seen it yet? What do you think about the movie? Share below!

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