The Queen of Versailles

"Excellent"

The Queen of Versailles Review


Documentaries are rarely as hilarious as this one. Well, the first half of it at least, as filmmaker Greenfield proves to have a wonderful eye for absurdity as she explores the life of the ludicrously wealthy Siegel family. But as the cameras roll, things begin to shift into something much darker. The absurdity is still there, but now it is tinged with bitter irony as harsh economic reality comes crashing down around them.

The queen of the title is Jackie Siegel, third wife of time-share mogul David, and her Versailles is under construction in Orlando, designed to be the largest family home in America. These people are so rich that their current 30-bedroom mansion feels cramped. Well, Jackie has given birth to seven of David's children! And she runs the household with a mixture of lively intelligence (she has a computer engineering degree), surgically altered physicality (she's a former Miss America) and of course a large staff. Their new house will have 90 rooms, including 10 kitchens and 30 bathrooms, and everything is on track until the 2008 financial crisis hits David's business.

Suddenly Jackie's lavish spending feels even more obscene, as she struggles not to buy far too many Christmas gifts, for example, and has to let the staff go.

She recognises the pain inflicted on the families of employees David has had to make redundant, so she opens a charity shop for them. But her spoiled children have no idea about the real world, and certainly don't understand why their dad has lapsed into such a dark depression.

The filmmakers watch all of this with observant, unobtrusive cameras, catching a series of telling moments that make us laugh and/or cringe. This is a thoroughly entertaining film that encourages us to react to the excess of the Siegels' lifestyle while also provoking our more universal reactions to the recession. The sudden downturn in this family's fortune feels strangely sobering after the film's more comical opening section, but it also shifts this from a mindless laugh-riot into something much more important.

Rich Cline



The Queen of Versailles

Facts and Figures

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 16th August 2014

Box Office USA: $2.4M

Box Office Worldwide: $714.5 thousand

Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures

Production compaines: Magnolia Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Fresh: 99 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Lauren Greenfield

Producer: Lauren Greenfield, Mette Heide

Starring: Jackie Siegel as Herself, as Himself, Virginia Nebab as Herself

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.