"Pride Goes Before Destruction"
The documentary THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES follows the Siegel family in their life as they go through incredible opulence but then lose all extra cash. The movie is incredibly well made and profound in its presentation of materialism and wealth.
The beginning shows Jackie and David Siegel in their opulent house at the pinnacle of their success. They claim their current house doesn’t have enough room to suit their needs and eight children, so they begin building a house based on the palace of Versailles. Their new house quickly becomes the biggest house in America, even without being finished. The costs pile up, but the couple has access to cheap money, so they spend more and more.
David Siegel talks about his company with extreme pride and arrogance. He has more money to spend than he knows how spend it. He claims that all those around him are better off because of him. David is frequently disrespectful to his wife, but she loves him and is patient with him. All the Miss America contestants visit their residence, and David comments about how he loves “beautiful women” and jokes about replacing his 40-year-old wife with two 20-year-olds.
David’s business booms and promotes his arrogance until the market crashes in September of 2008. David then layoffs some workers and sells assets to maintain some of his business. He tells his wife, Jackie, that they need to drastically reduce spending and stop building on the house. In fact, they must sell the new house in order to maintain sufficient funds as to not foreclose on their older house. The Siegel children begin going to public school instead of private school. They are told to start thinking about college, since they will have to start making their own money if the economy doesn’t recover.
As the economy collapse takes its toll on the Siegel family and business, the movie takes a profound turn. David comments about how nothing makes him happy anymore. When asked if he finds comfort in his marriage, he denies it and says Jackie is just like “another child.” Part of this view of her ignorance stems from their lack of communication about family funds. David won’t discuss finances with his wife. Instead, he barricades himself in his study, eating and working alone instead of with his family. Many of his children begin to disrespect and despise him because of his absence and stress. David comments simply that he’s a “victim of [his] own success. . . and failures.”
The movie ends with an interview with Jackie Siegel, who declares her faithfulness to her husband. “I married for richer or for poorer,” she points out. She also declares her belief in a sovereign being and faith that everything will work out in the end.
THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES is one of the more intriguing documentaries because of its profound content and compelling story structure. The movie focuses on telling a single story with one premise while also moving along and staying engaging to the audience. The shots and scenes are nicely timed and organized together to make a lovely visual treat. The characters were intriguing and interesting in interview, not just stale people. The interviews are cut well and pieced together in appropriate places. However, the frequent provocative attire should keep children away from the movie. Also, the profound content will be lost on children and early teenagers, who will only see the family’s great materialism, even after they lose much of their business. MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for children and young teenagers.
(RoRo, B, L, S, N, A, MM) Strong Romantic worldview including extreme materialism but discouraged, plus some light moral and biblical elements including showing how “pride goes before destruction” (Pr. 16:18, NIV) and marital faithfulness on the part of the wife; two obscenities, three profanities, and some scatological vulgarities, such as using “caca” for feces; no violence; light sexual content includes man jokes that he might replace his 40-year-old wife with two 20-year-olds; upper male nudity, naked statue in gymnasium, female cleavage, and women wear short skirts; alcohol use; no smoking or drugs; and, arrogance, man mentions past illegal actions but doesn’t spell out what he did, extremely excessive materialism, mention of abusive first husband, frequent disrespect of wife, threats of divorce, children disrespect father, and father becomes hopeless in the face of failure.
The documentary THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES first shows Jackie and David Siegel in their opulent house at the pinnacle of their success. David talks about his company with extreme pride and arrogance. However, in September 2008 the market crashes. This forces him to layoff several thousand people and sell his new company building and new house. The movie takes a profound turn as David says how unhappy he is without success. He receives no comfort from his family as he cloisters himself in his study. David’s children begin to resent him, but his wife continues to be faithful.
THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES is one of the more captivating documentaries because of its profound content and compelling story structure. The filmmakers focus on telling one story with one premise. However, some provocative clothing should keep children away from the movie. Also, the profound content will be lost on children and younger teenagers. They may still see the family’s opulent lifestyle even after their financial troubles. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for children and young teenagers.