Queen of Versailles – 8

One of those lucky documentaries that ran into a bigger story than the filmmaker could have anticipated – not that the largest house in America, the original story, wasn’t big. Instead, Lauren Greenfield wound up with a microcosm of the U.S. financial meltdown of 2008-09. Easy credit fueled David Siegel’s time-share empire and then brought it tumbling down. The shell of “Versailles” remained as a symbol of the housing bust that is still with us, years later. The movie’s miracle is that it manages to tell this story without moralizing: there are no villains onscreen (or heroes either, for that matter). Jackie, the titular queen, is clueless and tawdry, but not unsympathetic. She is never arrogant and doesn’t go around blaming others or feeling sorry for herself. We are left, mostly, with mouths agape, that there are people like this, that this is what our country has come to, and that a filmmaker could have been so close, watching this story unfold.

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