The Queen of Versailles Reviews
A documentary on the lives of David and Jackie Siegel. He is the founder and owner of Westgate Resorts, the largest timeshare resort company in the world and she is his wife. Focuses more on her (hence the title): her rise from humble beginnings to the wife of a billionaire, the palatial house they were building ("Versailles", after the French palace) and then the problems they and the company faced in the wake of the GFC.
Quite interesting for about the first half. You see her humble beginnings, how he made his fortune and his plans for his company. You also see how the GFC turned everything upside down, how the banks, despite government bailouts, did their best to undermine their own debtors and seemed more interested in claiming their assets than receiving debt payments. It is an interesting study in how to make and lose a fortune, the consequences of the GFC and the unscrupulous practices of the banks (ironically, the same organisations who caused the GFC).
With these points made, however, the movie seems to run out of things to say. It drifts for the latter half. About the only interesting observation from then on is how she is unable to adjust to a much-diminished budget (even just having a budget would have been foreign to her). This creates a strain in the household, as he is desperately trying to cut costs.
The latter half does reduce the empathy one has for the characters, especially Jackie. In the first half they seemed reasonably normal, despite their wealth. It is in the second half she loses our engagement by behaving rather arrogantly.
Overall: worth watching, but it does feel like a drag in the second half.
Identifies exactly what is wrong in this world.
Like a good black comedy these people have no redeeming features.
The schadenfreude comes from the words of these people themselves who view this life as normal and take pride in their views. David proudly admits to helping George W. Bush get elected, and Jackie proudly puts her dead, stuffed Pomeranians on display. This is the pinnacle of with a reality show hubris, and by the end you won't be sure whether to laugh or scream.