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What to know: Thought provoking documentary about an American icon.
Recommended age 10-18
115 minutes
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FOUNDER, THE cover image Click to play video trailer
I really enjoyed this movie. I thought it was provoking and made me look at McDonald's in a different way. I am a huge McDonald's fan and I have to say, I still am, but after watching the origin story, my view is slightly tainted.

The story is about a man named Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) who is always looking for the next big thing. He comes across a small burger stand called McDonald's, where he promises to help the brothers who created McDonald's turn their burger stand into a franchise. After they agree, Ray slowly becomes more and more obsessed with money and corporate greed.

I will say that one thing that is really good about this movie is how amazing it is paced. Ray's transformation isn't rushed and that's how it becomes believable. You see him becoming more of an antagonist over the course of the film. And, it's actually sad to watch a decent man turn evil so easily. Michael Keaton is excellent in his portrayal of Ray Kroc. The story begins and ends with a monologue that Keaton nails. He gets very invested in his role and it creates a believable character that is very human.

I certainly didn't expect it to be so dark. This is the company that brings Americans Happy Meals. My favorite scene is when the brothers tell Ray about how they set up the first McDonald's. This scene is the first scene that really sets them up as characters and it is really well done. I genuinely liked the brothers and their relationship. They definitely are each other's best friend.

The sets and costumes are also pretty genuine. This movie takes place in the 1950s and the set directors and costume designers have outdone themselves at making the film look authentic to that period. The recreation of the original Golden Arches, right down to the hamburger wrappings is spot on.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Adults will most likely enjoy it as well and it certainly is not suitable for really young kids. Whether you like eating at McDonald's or not, I recommend going and checking out The Founder when it comes out in theaters on January 20th, 2017.

Review by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

The Founder is an entertaining, fascinating and interesting film that gives you a glimpse of the formation of one of the greatest and powerful food restaurant chain in America and worldwide - McDonald's. Throughout the film you experience the historical formation of this corporation and discover how a 50-year-old became the owner of a dominant corporation. As a viewer, I personally love the concept of the film and the rich iconic history of this massive food chain.

Ray Kroc, a salesman, finds himself struggling selling milkshake machines for a couple bucks to support himself and his wife, Ethel Croc. As a salesman living in Illinois in the 1950s, Kroc has to face numerous rejections and several doors slamming in his face before he rises to become CEO of a grand corporation. On a drive across Route 66, Kroc comes across a family-friendly restaurant whose philosophy is "30 seconds and not 30 minutes." Amazed by this unique concept, Kroc will do whatever it takes to franchise and popularize this exclusive restaurant.

American actor Michael Keaton delivers the perfect performance as Ray Kroc. Keaton's physical appearance and excellent acting skills bring us a perfectly believable ruthless, greedy, egotistical portrayal of Ray Kroc. Dick McDonald (Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation) plays the McDonald brother who invented the idea of the "speedy system" and the iconic "golden arches." The supportive brother Mac McDonald is played by John Caroll Lynch, known for several film such as Shutter Island, Gran Torino and Zodiac. This review would be amiss without giving kudos to the film's amazing director, John Lee Hancock and its writer Robert D. Siegel.

I really enjoyed watching this movie and watching the history of McDonald's unravel before my eyes. I like how the director and producers made this film so precisely accurate to the actual events that took place. The history of McDonald's is fascinating and intriguing. Minutes after the film, I was on my phone reading and learning more about its rich history. I learned that the director used exact locations, exact character names and exact details to produce this documentary exactly as he could.

A clear and straightforward message is depicted throughout the 115 minutes of the film. A message of persistence and ambition can be seen through the actions of Mr. Kroc. He was a 50-year-old struggling business man who faced rejection after rejection, yet he does not give up or stop from archiving his dream. It's his persistence, hunger to succeed and ambition that lead him to achieve his goal. There is something we can all learn form Kroc, since we all have personal dreams and goals.

As a history lover myself, I recommend this film to any history enthusiast who is interested in learning about the formation of McDonald's. I also recommend this film to ages 15 to 18 and believe adults will enjoy this too. I give this documentary four out of five stars. It is playing in theaters now so, go check it out.

By Maria Guerrero, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, 17

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The story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers' innovative fast food eatery, McDonald's, into one of the biggest restaurant businesses in the world with a combination of ambition, persistence, and ruthlessness.
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