The Queen of Versailles follows the lives of one of the richest families in the US as their fortune falls from under them during the economic downturn.
David Siegel is the owner of the largest time-share business in the United States. He has become insanely wealthy from his business ventures and along with his former beauty queen wife, Jackie, the two plan on building the largest single house in the country at over 90,000 sq. feet, nicknamed Versailles. Before the sprawling mansion can be completed, the real estate bubble bursts and the Siegel family, along with their 8 kids and many dogs, are hit hard financially. This documentary follows the Siegels during their rise and fall.
The Queen of Versailles is an interesting documentary because while the economic hardships that befall the Siegels add a different layer to the film, it seems the original intent was simply to show how a family this wealthy lives. If you’ve ever wondered “what kind of people could afford to build a 90,000 sq. foot mansion?” The Queen of Versailles has your answer.
Most of the film centers around Jackie, who I believe is 48 but acts like she is still in her late teens. Her kids run rampant, as do her dogs, and outside of David, the family has no regard for their money as if it comes from a faucet. Oddly, Jackie came from very humble beginnings but has lost herself in the lifestyle of being so incredibly rich. When the business begins to falter, the family is unable to cut back – mind you, they are still incredibly wealthy – and live even a remotely modest life.
In the same way that reality television is so fascinating, The Queen of Versailles is a train wreck. It’s a great little documentary that has deservedly gained lots of press and is surely a contender come awards season. The Siegels are easy to hate but also incredibly humanized at times. There are certain scenes with the family that could take place in a small shack somewhere, but instead take place in a huge mansion in Florida. I was glued to the screen during The Queen of Versailles and I almost want a trashy reality television series to come out of it, because I’d watch that too.
I give it 4 shots of Versailles, USA out of 5.