Hot Docs 2012: My Thoughts on The Queen Of Versailles

Even though it was not the original intention of the documentary, The Queen Of Versailles is a very interesting case study about a spoiled rich family and their attempts to cope with the financial crisis.

The main focus of the film is Jackie Siegel, the trophy wife of timeshare king David Siegel.  Jackie has seven children (and one niece) and they all live together in this big lavish mansion.  The Siegels were in the process of building a BIGGER mansion, styled after the Palace of Versailles, however the financial crisis hit in 2008 and David Siegel’s empire was in serious jeopardy.

Watching the life of the super-rich is something that has to be seen to believed.  Rich people are able to buy or do whatever they want just because they can.  The lifestyle becomes such an addiction that, even when times are tough, it can be hard to stop.  It’s definitely something when you see Jackie buying three carts full of toys (for Christmas presents) at Toys ‘R Us, even though they are struggling to get by.

The real “villain” of the film is definitely David Siegel.  It is his own practices of spending money to make money that put him into financial peril to begin with.  He desperately wanted to keep his flagship property in Las Vegas, even though foreclosing it would have helped him to secure his future.  He also brings out a nasty side of personality, where he seems to care more about finding a solution to his financial trouble than his own family.

It’s probably not right to laugh at “rich people problems,” but I thought that The Queen Of Versailles was a hilarious sociopolitical commentary that gives an interesting look at the faces behind the “1%.”


Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).