The Queen of Versailles (2012)
Critic 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.
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Critic Reviews for The Queen of Versailles
Seriously, if this was the American Dream, couldn't we have come up with something better?
Although it's a guilty pleasure, "The Queen of Versailles" is artful enough that both the prosecution and the defense could invoke it when the peasants cry "Off with their heads!"
This rags-to-riches-to-almost-rags-again queen has an endearing knack for looking on the bright side. You find yourself, by the end, wishing her well.
"The Queen of Versailles" is funny, sad, infuriating, instructive. It's the American Dream inflated to ridiculous extremes, until it bursts.
Audience Reviews for The Queen of Versailles
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.
Sublime. Trash has never been so white!
There are thousands of stories about the impact of the economic crisis going on in the U.S. "Queen of Versailles" is one of those stories, and it happens to be one of the most interesting ones. This is a documentary about David Seigel, a billionaire who runs Westgate resorts, and his family as they build the biggest house in the U.S. At 90,000 sq. ft it is going to be something unbelievable to behold. 30 bathrooms, 17 kitchens, it's going to have it all. Then in the middle, the documentary becomes something else, as real estate bubble causes the Seigels to lose a fortune, lay off 7,000 employees, and risk losing everything. Their house becomes an unfinished dream, while David searches for a way to fix everything. The Seigels aren't bad people, they actually come off very nice, and seem like genuine good people. But, they are spoiled and filthy rich, so seeing them struggle financially is kind of funny, and you don't feel sorry for them at all really, but you like them. This is very entertaining and interesting, one of the better documentaries of the year. Also, it's a movie that will make you say "wtf?" probably more than any other movie of the year.
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