Movie Review: “The Queen of Versailles” – Jesters of the American Dream

Written by Rachel Ganzewinkel September 05, 2012

When I first heard of this documentary and what kind of people would be featured I immediately went, NOPE, never watching it. I figured they would try and tug at the audience’s heart strings and make everyone feel sorry they lost millions and millions of dollars all in the name of cheap money and ultimate greed. It looked like something that would be like, “Hey everyone! The obnoxiously wealthy were also hit by the recession! See!” But boy, was I ever wrong.

“A lot of people are better off having known me.”

The movie starts out with David Siegel being an arrogant assclown sitting in that ridiculous golden armchair and Jacqueline (his trophy wife) being herself- a blonde hot-mess of plastic surgery saying blonde things. But throughout the beginning you find they had to work up to where they are. Nothing was ever given to them, which serves as a very important factor in how David acts. Now, I agree with zero things about their principles and character. As David casually hits on Miss America contestants at his home as he hosts a party for them, it’s cringe-worthy and gosh darn hilarious.

His arrogance makes me laugh, only because his face isn’t close enough for me to punch, but that slowly goes away as he steadily loses everything he spent his life building. He locks himself away in a tiny room, away from the trophy family he built because he cannot find solace with them, just in the piles of paperwork that might hold the answer to him keeping what he has and possibly building up his fortune again.

“The hostest with the two mostest.”

Jacqueline’s boobs are just always there. Like holy shit, it was even a surprise to me she had a face to look at above those things. Albeit, a very robotic, botox face, but still, a face with eyes and a mouth and stuff. It must be weird for the kids, of which she had SEVEN. She took in her brother’s kid as well. She is actually quite giving and charitable and seems like a genuinely sweet person. She does her best in the only way she knows how to please her husband and her children-which is through giving them stuff. Even though the kids are little fuck-wads who let their house get super dirty because apparently picking up a vacuum is incredibly complicated, and one even ends up killing a pet because she just didn’t feed it or give it water. Oh, kids these days.

Jacqueline knows she’s a trophy wife and does weird things to please everyone. She (of course) has an in-house gym which she also makes her kids work out in, and then also indulges in McDonald’s? Like, I guess. It is also very weird for some reason to see a billionaire buy McDonald’s.

Deflating the American Dream

Never does David ever ask for sympathy for losing most of his fortune. He even mentions “don’t think we’re penniless”. They may not be able to afford as much as before, but they are still doing very well for recession standards. They lost a $100 million, 90,000 square foot home. Wow, that would suck, but he still lives in a mansion. The kids are still spoiled and Jacqueline still has fur coats and gets her plastic surgery. They simply just have less, which is still a hell of a lot more than most.

You don’t end up feeling sorry for the Siegel family, but you do reflect on how they got to where they are. David knows, it was cheap money and the obsession with getting rich. It’s a race to the top, but once you’re at the top you’re most vulnerable to lose everything. It’s a dream encrusted in greed and drizzled with insecurities. It makes you reflect on what it means to chase wealth and nothing else. At the end of the day David Siegel was left with his wife and kids. But he didn’t really seem to find comfort or happiness in them. His life is empty without money and that’s much more pathetic than simply being poor.

Overall

Through the laughs and wonder at the lives of the glamorously wealthy, the audience is left to reflect on the allegory of the film. What is the obsession with money? Why are love and happiness seen as seconds behind great wealth? Where does this “American dream” ultimately lead? It’s an amazingly filmed documentary with important rhetoric. It doesn’t preach, it doesn’t ridicule, it doesn’t blame. It is simply a story that serves as a back-drop for how we need to change our priorities as it looks like the wealth-chasing dream leads nowhere fast.

My Rating: 8.5/10

 

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About Rachel Ganzewinkel

Rachel loves movies and writing and has found the perfect amalgamation in writing movie reviews for We Eat Films. In between movie watching and the real-life world of work, she enjoys tea, reading, writing, and wearing over-size sweaters (while occassionally doing some of these simultaneously).

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