The Founder (2017) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Founder (2017)



Critic Consensus: The Founder puts Michael Keaton's magnetic performance at the center of a smart, satisfying biopic that traces the rise of one of America's most influential businessmen -- and the birth of one of its most far-reaching industries.

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Directed by John Lee Hancock (SAVING MR. BANKS), THE FOUNDER features the true story of how Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), a struggling salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Kroc was impressed by the brothers' speedy system of making the food and saw franchise potential. Writer Robert Siegel (THE WRESTLER) details how Kroc maneuvered himself into a position to be able to pull the company from the brothers and create a billion-dollar empire. The film also stars Laura Dern as Ray Kroc's first wife Ethel; John Carroll Lynch as Mac McDonald and Nick Offerman as Dick McDonald.


Nick Offerman
as Dick McDonald
John Carroll Lynch
as Mac McDonald
Linda Cardellini
as Joan Smith
Patrick Wilson
as Rollie Smith
B.J. Novak
as Harry Sonneborn
Laura Dern
as Ethel Kroc
Kate Kneeland
as June Martino
Katie Kneeland
as June Martino
Griff Furst
as Jim Zien
Wilbur Fitzgerald
as Jerry Cullen
David Devries
as Jack Horford
Cara Mantella
as Myra Rosenblatt
Randall Taylor
as Owner (Ed's Drive-In)
Lacey King
as CarHop Girl (Ed's Drive-In)
Rebecka Ray
as CarHop Girl (Joe's Drive-In)
Adam Rosenberg
as Employee (San Bernardino)
Jacinte Blackenship
as Woman (San Bernardino)
Jacinte Blankenship
as Woman (San Bernardino)
Charles Green
as Loan Officer #1
David Marshall Silverman
as Loan Officer #2
Mike Pniewski
as Harvey Peltz
Catherine Dyer
as Mrs. Horford
Susan Williams
as Mrs. Cullen
Franco Castan
as Art Wolodarsky
Kenny Alfonso
as Kroc Corporate Lawyer
Kabby Borders
as Cheerleader #1
Valeri Rogers
as Cheerleader #2
Nicolette Goetz
as Cheerleader #3
Lauren Denham
as Cheerleader #4
Abbey Ferrell
as Cheerleader #4
Victor McCay
as Kroc Divorce Lawyer
Steve Coulter
as Doctor Reeves
Ric Reitz
as Will Davis (LA Times Reporter)
Joy Glover Walters
as Mother (San Bernardino)
Makabe Ganey
as Little Boy
Jody Thompson
as Customer (Schaumburg)
Chris Greene
as Grand Opening Customer
Conrad Whitaker
as Limo Driver
Afemo Omilami
as Mr. Merriman
Kim Banta
as Bingo Caller
Devon Ogden
as Gorgeous Blonde
Gerald L. Duckworth
as Owner (Joe's Drive-In)
Jen Cohn
as Female Passenger
Jen Cohen
as Female Passenger
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Critic Reviews for The Founder

All Critics (129) | Top Critics (40)

Its omissions and elisions are the result not of natural narrative contours but of open choices, gaping holes, psychological wounds that a filmmaker displays all the more via the elaborate efforts at concealment ...

January 23, 2017 | Full Review…
New Yorker
Top Critic

Keaton is fascinating as Kroc, a bad guy who embodies the American Dream - a man who isn't necessarily the best or most talented but who's willing to step on anyone to get ahead.

January 20, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Tribune News Service
Top Critic

The Founder remains fascinating largely because Keaton is so good at guile and bile. Not once does he wink at the audience or overplay the obvious.

January 20, 2017 | Full Review…
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

John Lee Hancock serves up a biopic of McDonald's king Ray Kroc that is not unlike the restaurant's product: precisely prepared, brightly packaged, and uncomplicated in its appeal. Or at least, that's how it goes down much of the time.

January 20, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
San Diego Reader
Top Critic

As limp and cold as The Founder is as a movie, it contains one of the finest Keaton performances of his entire career, maybe the one he's been working his whole life toward.

January 20, 2017 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

"The Founder" is a bit like McDonald's: it's satisfying, but it leaves you hungry for more.

January 20, 2017 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…
Detroit News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Founder


In The Founder, Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc favors the saying, "fortune favors the bold," but the question that comes to mind as the The Founder reaches its denouement and shows us not just what Kroc became in the professional world, but who he became as a person is just how bold was this guy? As it turns out, quite. There were risks involved in his journey that were never guaranteed to pay off and he arguably had a vision no one else did-or at least the balls no one else had to risk it all. In the end, fortune obviously favors Ray Kroc, but at what expense to his humanity and decency? Some may say such things don't matter when you're worth $500 million, but in those final moments of The Founder where Kroc rehearses lines for a speech he stole from old motivational records when his wife, who he also stole, walks into the room and he catches her eye that there is a hint of self-awareness; of knowing that there was a price for all that he now looked down upon. Keaton, in all his charming and endearing glory, snaps his face out of the thought that dazed him only for a moment as if to say such was a price he'd gladly pay again and again. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence he tells himself-not talent, not education-persistence. It is in this train of thought, this idea that Kroc is never complacent or content with his life that confounds though as the movie that now tells his life story tends to air on the side of being exactly that-content. Directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, Saving Mr. Banks) The Founder is a perfectly acceptable slice of cinema as it is obviously well-crafted, hits all the right notes, and features a handful of appealing performances with Keaton being a whirlwind of as much sly charm as he can possibly muster-carrying this thing across the finish line with ease. It's not that there is anything particularly bad about the film, but there isn't anything that is rather exceptional either. Instead, The Founder more or less delivers what is expected of a biopic these days with only slight indications that there was a deeper, more cutting ambition to the project that maybe took a backseat to safety. There have been many a comparisons between The Social Network and this film with its protagonists being ruthless men who take ideas from smaller thinking men and turn them into multi-billion dollar businesses, but where David Fincher's film had a specific tone and a certain state of mind that was in place from the get-go, The Founder never feels as personal or alluring. It, ironically, never feels bold enough to transcend its genre lines. read the whole review at

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer


There's two types of people about McDonald's. One is the lover and the other one's the hater. McDonald's lovers will find a big meal to find in its forsaken history, but haters will have to find their way to yuck things out while actually enjoying how great this film is thanks to the crew and of course Michael Keaton.

EpicLadySponge the Adventurer
EpicLadySponge the Adventurer

Super Reviewer

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