Queen of Versailles, The

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

Documentary by Lauren Greenfield.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Wealthy and politically influential David Siegel has built and runs the Westgate Resorts time-share business. In 2008 he and his trophy wife were in the process of building the biggest house in America (ďBecause I can.Ē), when the US economy and Westgate were rocked by the devastating sub-prime mortgage collapse. We follow as the Siegels cope with the loss of their fortune and are dispirited and drawn apart by this sudden financial crunch.

PREVIEW REVIEW: A very revealing look at how quickly privilege and enormous wealth can cause people to lose touch with the realities of life, The Queen of Versailles is enlightening and enraging. Though David and Jackie are not made out to be monsters, still itís hard to have much compassion for them. One gets the distinct impression that if their enormous fortune would be returned they would go back to being as oblivious to the needs of others as they always were.

Sadly, this film will enforce the class warfare mentality for many as it gives a glimpse into the world of the extreme rich. It doesnít help that the man and his wife, a one-time model, constantly display superficial values.

Viewing the mass collection of unplaced possessions the couple accumulated for their hotel-like mansion, I was reminded of the final scene in Citizen Kane, as the dead manís collection is being cataloged and stored by strangers.

Itís kind of like viewing a reality program, where the contestants show no remorse for their decadent opulence as their servants and divorced family members go without. At one point early on, David Siegel professes that he got George W. Bush elected (going so far as to declaring his political actions may have been illegal). Then Mrs. Siegel escorts a friend through the partially built mansion, blissfully showing where the bowling alley will be and the two tennis courts will be located. Later she shows us her room-sized closet full of shoes (a collection that would rival that of Imelda Marcos).

By filmís end, I can see how the have-nots, and even the disenfranchised middle class would want to light the torches and storm the castle. But theirs is a spiritual message that perhaps the filmmakers werenít even aware of. By the end of the film, David Siegel is holed up in his office, trying to figure how to regain his riches, unable to spend time with his children. His peace of mind is not in a faith in God or a relationship with Christ, but in the seeking of wealth.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Magnolia Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: I heard one profanity (God d---) spoken by David Siegel.

Violence: None, though I suspect there are ghettos these folks should stir clear of.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Some wine with dinner.

Other: None

Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Mature Teens and Up

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.