Sunday, December 23, 2012

Movie Review: The Queen of Versailles

The Queen of Versailles is a documentary that is currently streaming on Netflix.

This movie is a great example of how a documentary can start out being about one thing but due to being in the right place at the right time it can turn into something more extraordinary. The movie starts out as a simple documentary about the building of the largest house in America. David Segal is the founder and owner of Westgate Timeshares that has made him very wealthy. His wife Jackie comes from a working class town in upstate New York. They decide to build a new house in Orlando Florida that resemble the Versailles in France. After they get done adding everything they want to the plans (a health spa, indoor ice skating rink, baseball diamond) they have designed the largest house in America.

Jackie is the focus of the movie. A former model and Miss. Florida she is very outspoken. They have eight kids, a menagerie of pets, and a staff of nannies, housekeepers, and cooks. A lot different then her life back in upstate NY.

The movie takes an unexpected turn when the economic collapse of 2008 hits. While I don't understand all the financial stuff that happened the effects are quite clear. The family is losing money and the banks are not loaning any out. They are forced to make difficult decisions. Like after selling their private jet they are the a forced to fly on a commercial plane for the first time and the kids want to know why other people are on their plane. But the most entertaining is Jackie shopping at Walmart.

What is amazing about this documentary is it make you feel sympathy for the family that you normally wouldn't. They still live in a mansion and have food just no one to clean and cook for them. It is also sad to see how many other lives are affected because of their financial situation. One of the nannies is forced to live in the kids old doll house. As Jackie struggles to keep everything together David sort of becomes a recluse hiding in his office not wanting to eat with the family trying to figure out some way to save his business.

Overall 5/5 Stars. Entertaining and a fascinating look inside a wealthy family. Better then any real housewives episode you will ever see.

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