Ronald is a short documentary about Joe Maggard, the Eight Man to play Ronald McDonald, the official mascot for the Mcdonalds chain of restaurant.
Joe Maggard seems like a normal and pleasant enough man, but seeing his excited persona inside a clown costume gives it an edge of surreality, uneasiness and menace. He seems very excitable outside his costume, and plays a human-being version of Ronald in his real life. There is an uncomfortable level of ambiguity in the way he is presented which makes you hold back judgements while also giving enough signs to make up your mind about Joe. Or what a man like Joe, who played Ronald McDonald for 12 years would be like.
Clowns are strange creatures, meant to represent a consumer culture's idea of joy, grown men dipped in stark paint to be attractive to young children, and that weirdness does seep into the film here at times. Joe Maggard seems to be in on the joke at different points, when he lets out some of the rougher observations-calling the children who stomp on his shoes "little bastards", a snide, weary comment under his breath when his high-five is ignored. At other times he is oblivious.
A wonderful, strange film.