Persistence vs Personality | Teen Ink

Persistence vs Personality

September 22, 2021
By WEIRDCRITIC07 SILVER, Ahmedabad, Other
WEIRDCRITIC07 SILVER, Ahmedabad, Other
5 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting."
- E.E. Cummings


The Founder (2016) is an exquisite biographical drama film based on the true story of the American businessperson- Ray Kroc, the one who started the world's most renowned fast food chain: McDonald's. With a flawless screenplay crafted by Robert Siegel and under the powerful creative director- John Lee Hancock, this movie stands out as one of its kind. Being an expert in this genre, Hancock delivers his authentic vision into every scene rippling a profound impact. The film premiered at ArcLight Hollywood and garnered well deserved critical acclaim that also heavily lauded Michael Keaton's authentic performance as Ray Kroc.

The story wonderfully depicts the events that occur in his life that shape the course of his career ahead as he rises from a door-to-door salesman to become the owner of McDonald's. Thrown into complex situational dilemmas, Ray is compelled to take decisions that have heavy long lasting impacts both on his job and in his personal life. Unable to suppress his extraordinary ambition and passion for the business, he tirelessly chases his dream of expanding McDonald's from a small neighborhood restaurant in San Bernardino into a nation wide franchise.

Ray's inspiring driving force is made clear in the beginning of the movie by a playing record that recites the nobility of persistence and the value of hard work.

His dedication starts to pay-off when he is credited with enormous fame in the Mid-West and expands horizons to the East Coast. The ever growing business not only profits in millions of dollars, but also multiplies job opportunities for people by manifold. Overnight, his success takes America by storm and the whole country starts to look up to him as an inspirational icon.

However this hungry pursuit of his goal, takes a gradual heavy toll on his ethical self. It heartlessly tears down his relationship with his own wife and his trusting friendship with the original founder brothers of McDonald's. The new paths he voluntarily charters to expand his restaurant business even directly contradict the core humane values on which McDonald's was originally built. But none of this casts a genuine impact on his life, which has now come to be solely defined by his financial ambitions. Ray refuses to stop at anything until he fulfills his life-long dream.

Even his stubborn motives that are born out of selfish desires, end up saving the firm from million dollar debts and saves the jobs of thousands of hard working employees.

As the film plays to a close, Ray's sheer persistence pushes his company through several tough and uncertain years, ultimately successfully establishing itself as a global food chain. This mannerism of his proves to be an asset for his huge company, but it also comes at the cost of economically devastating the lives of a few others. On the outside, this easily spells out as a bright success story of hard work and determination over fear. But it also revolves around a much darker internal theme, that we don't fully realize until the bitter-sweet ending when Ray reflects back on his life to prepare for a press interview.

John Schwartzman's amazing cinematography compels us to delve into the minds of the characters and feel through the revealing story beats along with them. The production design team's intentional use of brighter tones for certain scenes is done to synchronize with the iconic vibrant colors of McDonald's. Laura Dern, Nick Offerman, John Lynch, Linda Cardellini and the rest of the talented cast play out their supporting roles just as perfectly.

This film accurately establishes Ray both as a triumphant human being and as a selfish business tycoon, leaving the rest to the audience's judgement. As also remarked by Siegel himself, a definite parallelism between the lives of Ray Kroc and Mark Zuckerberg (in 2010 film Social Network) goes unnoticed. And as the end credits roll over, we are left to ponder on the price of extraordinary success and its actual worth in our modern society.


The author's comments:

The Founder's philosophical theme and its implications on our society are what prompted me to pour out my heart into this critical analysis of the story. In today's times, business tycoons are worshipped as cauldrons of inspiration by ambitious youngsters hungry for success. But these motivational conversations about persistence drown the feeble voices of vain that inevitably tie themselves to the bounty of success.


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