‘The Founder’ film review
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
Before there was Build Your Own Burger, the McRib, and even the Big Mac, McDonald’s was a place where you could get a hamburger combo for 35¢. The biopic The Founder shows how a diner would become the fast food restaurant chain that many people know today, and at the same time how it created controversies that still plague the fast food industry.
After trying to make it big in Hollywood, two brothers named Maurice McDonald (John Carroll Lynch) and Richard McDonald (Nick Offerman) open a diner in San Bernardino that sells fresh hamburgers. The diner is very popular and serves a lot of people, until a milkshake maker salesman named Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) comes in and sells the brothers’ idea to the rest of the United States.
The film explains the important moments in McDonald’s expansion to the rest of the US. I liked the scene in the film when Maurice and Richard tell Ray how they made McDonald’s because it has a lot of instant jumpcuts. In the beginning of the film, it looks like Ray is narrating because he is looking towards the camera, but he is not narrating it—he is actually trying to sell a milkshake maker to the owner of a diner. Michael Keaton does a great job playing Ray because, in the first half of the film, you think that Ray is helping the brothers succeed with their diner, and in the second half of it, you realize that he is upsetting a lot of people.
I learned a few interesting things from the film. McDonald’s was very innovative in the 1950s. Maurice and Richard invented the speedy system, which is like an assembly line, and it allowed the cooks in the diner to make a hamburger in a few minutes and have it still be fresh. Before McDonald’s was started, you had to get food in a drive-thru diner and it took a long time for the food to be cooked.
The golden arches that are now a famous logo were originally part of a concept design that would have been used for the design of the diner. In the film, the arches describe what McDonald’s represents, which is family and America, because it is a place where people spend time together, and a symbol of America. The classic orange drink that they have is one of the diner’s first products, although it has since been replaced with Fruitopia and Hi-C.
Another thing that I learned from The Founder is that in order for the restaurant to save money, the brothers had to replace their freshly-made milkshakes with an instant milkshake. This idea was suggested by the wife of the owner of one of their locations, Joan (Linda Cardellini), who was also Ray’s soon-to-be wife. The instant formula compromised the quality of their milkshakes because it had a lot of artificial ingredients in it. A few decades later, McDonald’s went back to making their milkshakes fresh, although they still have some artificial ingredients. A similar thing happened with their other products as the years went by, and this led to the “Our Food. Your Questions.” digital platform in Canada, where McDonald’s customers can ask questions online about the food.
The Founder is a very interesting film that summarizes how McDonald’s became what it is today and set the standard for fast food restaurants.