The Founder

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Founder Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Gripping film about burger entrepreneur has strong language.
  • PG-13
  • 2017
  • 115 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 16 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Determination, perseverance, and hard work will get you somewhere, especially when they're combined with vision. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ray Kroc isn't pleasant. His single-minded pursuit of success sometimes means others are neglected, with their feelings derailed. But nobody can deny his work ethic or deep desire to see his dream come true. He's also brilliant at what he does. The McDonalds are principled visionaries, albeit purists who get in the way of their own dreams. 


Confrontations/yelling about both business and personal issues. 


A married man flirts with a married woman and eventually seduces her, off screen. 


Language is infrequent but strong; words used include "f--k" (once), "s--t," "hell," "bulls--t," "bitch," "ass," "Christ," and "goddamn."


The film could be considered a feature-length ad for McDonald's.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking by adults, usually at meals.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Founder tells the fascinating history of how fast-food chain McDonald's began -- and became a global brand. Expect many intense conversations/confrontations among stakeholders; some of them end up in loud, menacing arguments. There's some swearing (including a use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "hell," and more) and social drinking by adults. A man and woman who are each married to others flirt with each other, and he eventually seduces her off screen. While main character Ray Krock (Michael Keaton) certainly isn't warm and fuzzy, he does show that determination, perseverance, and hard work can pay off.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJennifer H. March 2, 2019

Warts and all portrait of the founding of McDonald's--could be interesting for a mature tween

This was a very good film and there is no sex or violence, but definitely watch this with your child--there are several important issues that arise that bear di... Continue reading
Adult Written byPG D. February 11, 2018
Personally I think children should watch this and see the truth behind fast food
Kid, 8 years old March 9, 2017
Teen, 16 years old Written byLamshoo May 10, 2017

Not Good for McDonalds

The reviews call it an ad for McDonalds, not at all! This movie shows the story of the "founder" of McDonalds, a sleazy dirtbag who stole the company... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE FOUNDER, there's nothing under the sun that Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) hasn't tried to sell. An Illinois salesman who's constantly on the road, Kroc has tried peddling all sorts of products -- but it's while he's selling milkshake machines that he stumbles upon McDonald's, a successful, freestanding eatery in California. Owned by two brothers (John Carroll Lynch and Nick Offerman), the restaurant offers a pared-down menu of burgers and fries and has distilled the food-prep process to the exact minute, the exact steps. Immediately, Kroc is enamored, and he becomes bent on selling McDonald brothers (and others) on franchising the concept throughout the country. But Kroc and the McDonalds have little in common except for their love for the restaurant: The brothers want to keep things small, pure, and manageable, while Kroc, though a believer in quality control, wants to preach the gospel of fast food, enormous profits, and world domination. In other words? This is not a love story. Laura Dern, Patrick Wilson, and Linda Cardellini co-star as Kroc's wife, a franchiser, and an unexpected muse. 

Is it any good?

Tense, entertaining, and nostalgic yet decidedly modern, this drama is a feast of filmmaking. The Founder pairs brilliant acting with great storytelling to create a movie that, despite its long run time, moves like an energetic athlete. In short, it's a delight. But it's also frightening in a way, offering a study in how vision can build kingdoms -- but also destroy others' dreams and lives, as well as, in some touching ways, the visionary himself. Still, if there's one character Keaton can portray with might, it's a driven, passionate, bombastic, and sometimes-terrifying man like Kroc. He's admirable but also alienating, a character very relevant for these modern times.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Ray is depicted in The Founder. Is he meant to be sympathetic or off-putting? Are his personality traits assets or liabilities?

  • How does Ray demonstrate perseverance? Why is that an important character strength?

  • Is it possible to tell the story of a well-known brand/company without seeming to promote it? Is The Founder successful at this? 

  • How would you describe McDonald's role/place in American society? How has that role changed over the years? What challenges has the company faced?

Movie details

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