F. Scott Fitzgerald observed, “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” That’s never been more evident than in Lauren Greenfield’s socially relevant documentary about a billionaire family and their financial challenges, including foreclosure, in the wake of the economic crisis. 73 year-old David A. Siegel made his money selling subprime time-share mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them and brags how he got George W. Bush elected president in ways that were not necessarily legal. 43 year-old blonde, Botoxed Jackie acquired an engineering degree, modeled and was a beauty queen before becoming Mr. Siegel’s trophy third wife.
In 2007, they decided to build a 90,000-square-foot mansion in Orlando, Florida, modeled on France’s Palace at Versailles. Designed with 30 bedrooms, 23 bathrooms, 10 kitchens, a ballroom, a cavernous 60×120-foot long grand hall, theater, bowling alley, roller rink, two tennis courts, baseball field, separate wing for their seven children and a grotto with spas behind an 80-foot waterfall, it has his-and-her offices with a 12-foot aquarium, formal gardens and an underground garage for 20 cars.
Out of 19 servants, 15 have now been fired, prompting Jackie to confess: “If I’d known I wasn’t going to have nannies, I wouldn’t have had so many kids.”
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Queen of Versailles” is an extravagant yet surprisingly compassionate 8, a unique chronicle of the collapse of the real estate market.