“The Queen of Versailles” is new documentary movie. It is directed by Lauren Greenfield.Watch online The Queen of Versailles movie in Full HD/DVD/ipod/divX All Qualities are Here
Movie Review (Synopsis):
A documentary that follows a billionaire couple as they begin construction on a mansion inspired by Versailles. During the next two years, their empire, fueled by the real estate bubble and cheap money, falters due to the economic crisis.
Directed by lauded filmmaker and photographer Lauren Greenfield, who won the U.S. Directing Award for Documentary Film at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for this film, The Queen of Versailles is a character-driven documentary about a billionaire family and their financial challenges in the wake of the economic crisis. With epic proportions of Shakespearean tragedy, the film follows two unique characters, whose rags-to-riches success stories reveal the innate virtues and flaws of the American Dream. The film begins with the family triumphantly constructing the biggest house in America, a 90,000 sq. ft. palace. Over the next two years, their sprawling empire, fueled by the real estate bubble and cheap money, falters due to the economic crisis. Major changes in lifestyle and character ensue within the cross-cultural household of family members and domestic staff.
The Queen of Versailles, a succulently entertaining movie that invites you to splash around in the dreams and follies of folks so rich they’re the 1 percent of the 1 percent. It’s like a champagne bath laced with arsenic.
The central figures are David and Jackie Siegel, a billionaire couple in the Orlando area, who at the height of the housing bubble (the film was shot over three years, starting in 2007) are attempting to build the single largest home in America. It seems that the 26,000-square-foot house they already live in isn’t big enough. The palace they’re constructing — they have literally modeled it on Versailles, with the top three floors done as a knockoff of Las Vegas’ Paris hotel — will be 90,000 square feet, with 10 kitchens, a bowling alley, a roller rink, and a bedroom closet as big as a gymnasium. (”The children have their own wing,” says Jackie proudly.)
There’s no denying that part of the appeal of The Queen of Versailles is the way it invites us to stare, drop-jawed, at the Siegels’ tastelessly expensive bric-a-brac (gold-leaf statues, painted portraits of the family in royal robes) and to drink in their whole chatty ideology of more-ness. David, the founder of Westgate Resorts, is a man in his 70s who comes off like the ordinary-schmo version of Hugh Hefner, while Jackie, a former model 31 years his junior, is a perky shopaholic with a face of Botoxed blahness. The Siegels are easy to mock, yet the film’s relationship to them and their wealth is more complex than it looks. David says he’s building the ultimate house ”because I could,” and once we’ve seen its half-finished interiors, the grand arrogance of his dream tugs at us. We want to see that house get built too.
Both Jackie and David came from humble beginnings and grew into the owners of the biggest single-family home in America (not that they planned it that way.) David found financial success through his Westgate Resorts timeshare business while Jackie parlayed her good looks into a successful modeling career, eventually winning the Miss Florida title (and David’s heart.) Their dream home, named “Versailles” for its grander and the palace it was modeled after, encapsulated what you give the couple who has everything – a home with a bowling alley, a stadium sized tennis court, a stadium sized baseball field, a health spa (to name just a few of its expansive amenities) and ended up with a home covering enough square footage to be considered a new “land” in the center of dreams and fantasy, Disney World.
But like many Americans, when the financial crisis hit, even the King and Queen of Versailles felt the impact. Having built his empire on the idea of selling others their dreams through lavish vacation homes, David suddenly (and ironically) finds himself starting to lose his own because of it. A mother of eight (plus her niece), Jackie finds her role at home changing as their house-hold staff is paired down and the success that had given them their current (and still incredibly large) home begins to fall into disarray without enough people to maintain its upkeep.
The film may start off depicting Jackie as just another Bravo housewife with an unlimited spending account, but once she grows wise to her family’s true financial woes she does not get upset that she may have to cut back, she gets upset that she was not asked to help. This honesty and heart is what makes The Queen of Versailles so compelling as we watch Jackie bounce seamlessly from eating caviar to McDonalds, buying multiple cartloads of toys for her family to starting a thrift store to give jobs to laid off Westgate employees and provide affordable shopping options to her community. Jackie, like most of us, is not simply one dimensional (although she may come off that way at first) and it is when we see the woman who has gotten everything she has ever wanted start to realize the possibility of all that slipping away that the film (and Jackie) become even more interesting and fun to watch.
After seeing Queen of Versailles, Siegel also is alleging that the film is “defamatory, derogatory and damaging” in the way it gives the impression that his company Westgate does not pay its bills, the way it connects the layoff of his company’s workforce to contractors’ claims and the way it portrays him as “essentially broke and out of business, on the verge of bankruptcy.”
Ms. Greenfield raved about Jackie and David Siegel, the couple at the center of the movie. Jackie, a 46-year-old former model, is 31 years younger than David, the billionaire founder of Westgate Resorts, “the largest privately owned time-share company in the world,” as he says in the movie. They have eight children (including a niece of Jackie’s, whom they are raising), four dogs and, despite their wealth, very little pretension.
Every few months Ms. Greenfield and her small crew would essentially move in for a few days, doing interviews and playing fly on the wall. She came to like Jackie very much, and to respect David.
But Jackie is no ordinary trophy wife, she is a smart woman who wanted out of her small town situation and went to college to get a job in engineering before becoming a model. While she certainly spends frivolously and may “jokingly” complain about having to oversee her home’s lavish Christmas party (in lieu of an event planner) instead of staring in it, she will also turn on a dime and try to help one of her hometown friends from facing foreclosure on her home before Jackie realizes she faces the same fate with Versailles.
Here’s the strange part: Jackie is appealingly vulnerable, with neither the lip-licking materialism of reality-show stars nor the radiant sense of entitlement appearing peculiar to those born rich. Busy all these years with kids and dogs and staying in shape, she contemplates the loss of her fortune (and her limitless freedom to spend) with stunned resignation. “I married David for richer, poorer …?,” she says, selling a line that out of anyone else’s mouth would sound hollow. The Queen of Versailles has never been in control, never reigned. Like so many Americans, she gets herself a time share, surrenders to the dream of being rich, and now must reckon with the real world. But her landing will be softer than yours or mine. She’s a celebrity now.
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