With the epic dimensions of a Shakespearean tragedy, The Queen of Versailles follows billionaires Jackie and David’s rags-to-riches story to uncover the innate virtues and flaws of the American dream. We open on the triumphant construction of the biggest house in America, a sprawling, 90,000-square-foot mansion inspired by Versailles. Since a booming time-share business built on the real-estate bubble is financing it, the economic crisis brings progress to a halt and seals the fate of its owners. We witness the impact of this turn of fortune over the next two years in a riveting film fraught with delusion, denial, and self-effacing humor.
A friend of mine states "money does not care who owns it"; Jackie Siegel ("Queen") and husband David Siegel, ("King") reign over the mammoth time-share company, Westgate Resorts. They are the subjects of director Lauren Greenfield's riches to rags scenario; propitious, that Ms. Greenfield in 2007, focuses on the Siegel's because they are constructing the largest private residence in the US. 90,000 square feet; gargantuan and garish replica of Versailles, a seventeenth palace in France.
Jackie, is forty-three, blessed (purchased?) with a Jane Mansfield pneumatic chest, lithesome legs and eight children. She is tragically defined by her purchasing power; closets, the size of railroad cars, packed with shoes, gowns, accessories; she spends a million dollars a year on her wardrobe; unfortunately too low on one end, too high on the other; but uniformly, tasteless. She is a pathetic creature incapable of understanding the implosion, explosion of the real estate market and the global financial collapse. She has children so the nannies can raise them; they run rampant, unsupervised, surly, spoiled (most likely ensconced in the therapeutic process or worse); repugnantly, animals share their domain (paltry 26,000 square foot home): snakes slither, lizards languish, dogs defecate. Jackie is clueless, unconscious to the boundaries needed to curtail her compulsive spending, raising children, managing a household. She is not a bad person, just detached, avaricious, naive and stupid.
David, (31 years Jackie's senior) no longer a titan, robbed of his integrity; his braggadocio deflated with his financial demise; hibernating in splendid squalor, a sour septuagenarian, looking for salvation, blaming the banks for his bankruptcies, foreclosures; shuns his children, wife; wastes his days looking for bailouts; staring at photos: grinning with ex -presidents, other financial tycoons, beauty pageant winners. Like Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens" he is a hollow, colorless, wasted man; an empty vessel without his billionaire status.
2008 resonates with massive tales of fortunes lost, lives altered, lessons learned; I found Jackie and David Siegel unsympathetic but even worse, uninteresting.
TWO & 1/2 STARS!!