THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES
(directed by Lauren Greenfield, 2012)
**** (out of 5)
This revealing documentary is a stunning evisceration of power and privilege in America! It is so ludicrous, it almost seems a parody of itself!
. When the cameras started rolling on this timeshare billionaire and his trophy wife, they were rollin’ in dough, and had begun building the largest single-family dwelling in the country. During production, the financial meltdown of 2008 dried up investment capital and devastated his once-thriving company, bringing productions of their Floridian mansion modeled on The Palace of Versailles to a dead halt. The result? Even the 1% need to tighten their belts.
. It is stunning to watch, as the economic shit hits the fan with this once untouchable family, and poor beauty pageant wifey is reduced to buying only three times what she needs instead of her usual ten or twenty times her actual needs. (O, the heartbreak! The unspeakable privation!) For Christmas, among her eight kids she buys not one, but three “Operation” games. (You get the impression there are several unused ones from earlier years in the back of their overstuffed closets.) She buys one child a new bike, despite the fact that the housekeeper (who is clearly more involved in their lives than she) recognizes it as too small for them. When she brings it home, they unload it in a garage already cluttered with 30 or 40 other bikes lying in a giant jumble!
. This film is a jaw-dropping chronicle of gross over-consumerism at its most garish and idiotic; a must-see for anyone interested in the disparity between the wealthy and everyone else in this country, and people concerned about building a sustainable future predicated on values that nurture, not destroy families, culture and the planet we live on.
> Simply: WOW!
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