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The Queen of Versailles

February 10, 2013

The Queen Of Versailles movie poster

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The Queen of Versailles is a wonderful tale of the pursuit of excess. The story centers around billionaire Westgate resorts owner David Seigel and his wife Jackie. Their life overflows with money, children and tiny dogs. The two year period of the documentary focuses on the families financial burdens which accompany the crashing of the market. This is a film about people who desperately want to stay on their throne.

The Queen of Versailles couple

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What make the doc interesting is Jackie Seigel. She has a warmth to her ditziness that creates a reliable narrator and interesting subject. For instance, when struggling financially she asks the clerk at a rental car company “who her driver was going to be.” Her life has been so opulent she has lost touch with reality. Watching her pull up at McDonalds in a stretch limo is a surreal site that she must love. Everything is big in her life.  The former Miss Florida never wanted to settle. She earned a engineering degree and worked alongside the men until she couldn’t take it anymore. She tells a story about how one of her coworkers had a clock that counted down to his retirement. She asked why he had the clock and he replied “retirement is when I can start living my life.” She promptly quit her job and caught the eye of a twice married billionaire. Together, they produced seven kids and attempted to build the United States biggest private home. However, the market crashes and leaves an empty shell and reminder of fortunes lost.


The Queen of Versailles house big

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Lining Jackie’s closets are $17,000 boots and so many outfits it takes a master bedroom to store them all. They plan on putting $5,000,000 dollars worth of marble in their new home and their skylight cost $250,000. it is wealth that wealthy people are envious of. However, when the market crashes they have massive property sales, marital strife and delusions of grandeur. There is a particularly sad scene where Jackie is shopping at Wal Mart and she fills ten carts full of unnecessary games and toys her kid’s will soon dismiss. The biggest fight between the married couple is that Jackie and her kids refuse to turn off all of the lights in their mansion. They have no concept of money and the reality of turning off lights to save money is foreign to them.

The Queen of Versailles house

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The film is frustrating to watch as the children have so many pets they often forget about them. This leads to stacks of poop and dead lizards that were never given water. They begin to realize they will have to do things on their own. It is like the current season of Downton Abbey but less British. Jackie admits that the only reason she had so many kids was because she had nannies to take care of them. However, you never dislike her. The directors were able to find a smart woman who because of her riches thought she never had to think again. She fought hard to become submissive and watching her adjust to reality is well worth the watch.

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