No, this isn't about France. The Queen of Versailles is a documentary that follows timeshare mogul and Westgate Resorts founder David Siegel and his wife Jackie—the titular queen—on their quest to build the largest single-family house in the United States, the titular 90,000 square-foot Versailles.
If it were only that, this movie would still be fascinating, but thanks to the financial crisis which threw a serious, serious wrench in the gears of Westage Resorts, the construction of Versailles, and the operation Siegel family as a whole, it is so, so much more. It's hard to try and list all the things that are enthralling about this film, but I'm going to shoot for a few:
- David Siegel is an aging captain of industry, ever more stressed with the failing operations of Westgate resorts, and openly despondent as the film progresses, admitting that nothing makes him happy any more and that he doesn't draw any strength from his marriage. Oh and he's like constantly sitting on this f*cking throne of a chair.
- Jackie Siegel is a seemingly well-meaning if oblivious trophy wife whose warped idea of luxury seems to revolve around the acquisition of useless duplicates, like a house with 30 bathrooms instead of 17. She can be seen purchasing three identical copies of the board game Operation at one point. What?
- The nine kids (did I mention the nine kids?) understand—or perhaps fail to understand—how everything is going south to varying degrees and are alternatively spoiled and going through rough times.
The logistics of their extravagant life plus an interesting look into that whole "financial crisis" thing makes this a total must-see. But I've gone on too long. Now it's on Netflix, so there's no excuse to not see it. Now go. Now. Do it. [Netflix]