Queen of Versailles

As a portrait of one family’s struggles with money, family and relationships I think this is an excellent documentary. However I keep reading a lot about the schadenfreude people experience while watching the downfall of a super wealthy family, and on that point I almost feel like the film is a bit exploitative. A little too much glee in the subtext of the sudden turn of events. After all it started out as an honest documentation of very wealthy family, who happens to be building the largest personal residence in North America, and which happens to take its visual cues from the Palace of Versailles. A bit gaudy? yes. Perhaps they are bit too wealthy for their own good? perhaps. I’m sure the filmmakers could not contain their glee at their good fortune, when it all falls apart as a result of the 2008 financial crisis. What follows is often a very uncomfortable look at a family who for all intents and purposes, was premised upon wealth – husband with trophy wife, spoiled kids, ginormous house, tiny doggies pooping on everything, etc. What is uncomfortable to watch is the humanity that emerges, the real love and tenderness on display, all of it combined with a light touch of ditsy blonde/model/boobalicious ignorance.