“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 largest privately-owned 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.” – magpictures.com
Biographical Documentary / 100 minutes / PG / Released 2012
Directed by: Lauren Greenfield
Cast: Jackie Siegel, David Siegel
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
1. In general, did you like the movie? What were your immediate reactions?
2. How would you describe Jackie and David’s relationship to money?
3. How do you think you would spend your money differently if you had as much wealth as the Siegels?
4. They were attempting to build the largest house in America. If you could build your dream home, what would it be like? How big would it be?
5. As the movie progresses, we become more aware of the strain on the Siegel’s marriage. What do you think causes their marriage difficulties?
6. Jackie eats both caviar and McDonald’s in the film. She collects cheap stuff from Walmart and French Rococo statues too. What do you think of Jackie’s “taste”, her aesthetic sensibilities? Do you think style preferences related to clothing, food, and home design are moral issues? Why or why not?
7. After watching the film, how do you feel about your own relationship to money and possessions? Do you want to live any differently after watching it?