Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Thursday, 16 August 2012 23:00

'The Queen of Versailles' boasts indulgent excess

allmoviephoto.com allmoviephoto.com
Written by Diane Carson
Rate this item
(0 votes)

About this Media...

  • Director: Lauren Greenfield
  • Dates: Opens August 10, 2012

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote, “The rich are different from you and me.” Lauren Greenfield’s documentary The Queen of Versailles about billionaires Jackie and David Siegel proves the multitude of ways. It’s not an attractive portrayal; but with the indulgence on display, that would prove very difficult.

In scenes shot in 2007, the Siegels have begun work on what would be the largest single-family residence in the U.S. at 90,000 square feet. Impacted by the 2008 crisis, the mansion, called Versailles and modeled after the famous French palace, goes on the sales block for $75 million as David Siegel’s Westgate Resorts timeshare fortune declines. Charting the situation, the film fills in 74-year-old David’s story: Jackie his third wife, David’s claim that perhaps through illegal activity he got George W. elected, his 24-7 work obsession, his fight to rescue his business. Thirty-one years younger than David, Jackie came from Binghamton, earned an engineering degree, has seven birth children with David, and an apparent love of low cut dresses and her four dogs. And we learn about the business employees’ hard-sell tactics, apparently to people who can ill afford the cost.

 

By contrast, indulgent excess barely suggests the Siegels’ billionaire lifestyle before 2008. Despite humble origins, with no apparent self-awareness Jackie notes that she easily spent $1 million a year on her clothes. At another point, looking at the marble from China warehoused for their mansion, she comments, “That’s what $5 million in marble looks like,” and blithely moves on. After finances get tight, she still can’t resist filling to overflowing at least five shopping carts at Wal-Mart. One of the remaining four of 19 previous staff takes a bicycle into the garage where there are at least another dozen strewn about.

 

As counterpoint, Filipino nanny Virginia Nebel expresses her delight to get to reside in the children’s one-room, abandoned playhouse. Virginia tells a heartbreaking story about her recently deceased father and son that she hasn’t seen in 19 years. This highlights the Siegels’ persistent lack of perspective, coming across as incredibly narcissistic, though Jackie clearly does care about David.

He has filed a lawsuit against producer/director Greenfield protesting several aspects of the film. The Queen of Versailles does take some cheap shots, it doesn’t flow well from scene to scene, it’s not well composed, and the music intrudes. Despite its many technical imperfections, the subject makes it fascinating to watch. At a Landmark Theatre.
 

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


Jah Orah and KD Assassin

Wed November 19

Durango

Sun October 26
Durango is a two-man band with a progressive, heavy rock sound. The band's latest album, "Technologigical Advances," is a concept album that is meant to be heard as a whole unit. To download a track from…

KDHX Recommends

December
Friday
05

Roscoe Mitchell and Craig Taborn

An internationally known musician, composer and innovator, Roscoe Mitchell began his distinguished career in the spirited 1960s of Chicago. NYC pianist and ECM recording artist, Craig Taborn, has remained a ubiquitous presence on the...


December
Thursday
11

KDHX Discovery Series: History of Psychedelia

The KDHX Discovery Series presents the "History of Psychedelia," with DJ valis. KDHX DJ, valis will take you on a multimedia journey through the annals of psychedelic musical history. The evening will feature a...


December
Sunday
14

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round welcomes Celia's Yuletide Express Secular Holid...

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round welcomes Celia's Yuletide Express Secular Holid... 88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round welcomes Celia's Yuletide Express Secular Holiday Sing-along Sunday, December 14 at Noon. Tickets available online.  Toys, clothes, food and other gifts will be collected at the door for...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Upcoming Events HAPPENING

Online Users

5 users and 8148 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook