The Queen of Versailles


The Queen of Versailles

Critics Consensus

The Queen of Versailles is a timely, engaging, and richly drawn portrait of the American Dream improbably composed of equal parts compassion and schadenfreude.



Total Count: 115


Audience Score

User Ratings: 15,778
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Movie Info

The Queen of Versailles is a character-driven documentary about a billionaire family and their financial challenges in the wake of the economic crisis. With epic proportions of Shakespearean tragedy, the film follows two unique characters, whose rags-to-riches success stories reveal the innate virtues and flaws of the American Dream. The film begins with the family triumphantly constructing the biggest house in America, a 90,000 sq. ft. palace. Over the next two years, their sprawling empire, fueled by the real estate bubble and cheap money, falters due to the economic crisis. Major changes in lifestyle and character ensue within the cross-cultural household of family members and domestic staff. -- (C) Magnolia


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Critic Reviews for The Queen of Versailles

All Critics (115) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (109) | Rotten (6)

Audience Reviews for The Queen of Versailles

  • May 07, 2014
    This may be the most fascinating documentary to be made solely about a family since "An American Family." Jackie and David Siegel are some of the most shallow and yet intelligent people in America, being worth billions, both having a good education, and business acumen. They have gaudy taste, a love of McDonald's, and an inability to understand the debt they owe. Jackie spends too much money, plans for a huge home they now can't afford, and suffers under her husband's ill treatment and cranky attitude. The film starts with them doing well in 2008, planning to build the biggest home in America, and ends two years later with bankruptcy, a defaulted mortgage, and a shipwrecked marriage. The documentarians also interviewed their nannies, their children, their relatives, and others affected by the recession's claim on Siegel's billion dollar company. It's both sad to watch them fall from their pedestal, and creepily satisfying to watch them now know loss. The film ends on a sour note as the family unit starts to collapse, and nothing seems to be resolved. This is a must watch for anyone who loves people who are characters in and of themselves.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 01, 2014
    Sublime. Trash has never been so white!
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 20, 2013
    "The Queen of Versailles" is a documentary wherein time share mogul David Siegel attempts to build the largest single family house in the United States. In the process, he proves that just because something can be done, does not automatically mean that it should. That is moral #1. His trophy wife and mother of their eight children, Jackie, sees the parallels between their new home and the palace at Versailles, forgetting how badly that ended, even though she graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology. This modern day version does not end the same way, of course, but it does not look like it will end happily, either. That starts when the banking crisis of 2008 brings David's business to an abrupt halt which is ironic considering his support of George W. Bush who favored less regulation for the banking industry in the 2000 election. Thus leaving the new house only half complete. Moral #2 is put rather well by one of the children when she observes that being rich does not solve any problems, since there will always be more.(Remember this the next time you are on line to buy a lottery ticket.) But that's pretty much it for any kind of meaningful insights here, as "The Queen of Versailles" otherwise resembles reality television in the cringe inducing way it invites the viewer to sit in judgment of its subjects, particularly on the subjects of the tackiness of the nouveau riche and birth control for both men and women.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 03, 2013
    The Queen of Versailles is a fascinating documentary of a riches to rags story. It follows Jaqueline Siegel and her husband David, who runs one of the leading timeshare companies in the world, as they build the largest private residence in America, but are devastated by the 2008 economic meltdown and forced to liquidating their assets. The film does an excellent job at personalizing the economic downfall, and at showing how it affected everyone from the so called 1% to the common man. And, it's refreshing that the focus stays on how the Siegels adjust to their financial losses, and avoids any attempt to vilify or judge them. While it's not groundbreaking, The Queen of Versailles is an interesting and provocative contemporary documentary.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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