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The Queen of Versailles

What can go wrong when you try to build the largest house in the world on the eve of the financial crisis? Director Lauren Greenfield takes us behind the scenes of the mad Siegel household, an American extravagant billionaire who is on the verge of losing everything he’s got, including his privately owned real sized copy of Versailles. 

From rags to riches spells the American dream, but what if that dream becomes a nightmare?

It isn’t difficult to see why The Queen of Versailles is a hit everywhere it is being shown, from the first moment we meet the Siegel family the film is entertaining. Though the family itself – consisting of the former Miss Florida ‘Queen’ Jackie, her 30-years older billionaire husband David and the couple’s eight kids – is any filmmaker’s dream, it is hard to imagine another director being so observant and precise.  

The film’s subtle nuances, combined with the jumbo-sized foot-in-the-mouth comments of the blond bombshell Jackie, make for a deliciously hillarious and entertaining documentary, where things are almost too good to be true.

Barr Jackie’s breasts and sometimes a bit too spontaneous comments, the family could be a symbol for what the Republican’s hail as the self made man’s success story. However, where is the party David Siegel says to have almost ‘made himself’ with contributions (legal or illegal) when the market collapses and with it Siegel’s once so prosperous time-share business?

While his company dries up overnight, thousands are laid off and entire offices stand empty. And though the effects of this are immideately visible for the people who have lost their jobs, the Siegel family is left in the dark about their situation by the now more and more stressed and withdrawing father of the household. But this brings an interesting angle to light; where at first we think of Jackie as the stereotypical pin-up with alterial motives, Greenfield reveals to us a side not even visible to Mrs Siegel’s own husband… 

The actual house, their own private Versailles, is amazing in its proportion – never will you have seen anything like it. But in all fairness, the title doesn’t do the film or its subjects justice. ‘Versailles’ is merely an eye-opener to kick the story off with, the rest of the quality lies within the way Greenfield has managed to capture this absurd but hugely entertaining world and their inhabitants; Meet the Siegels.

 

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