Filmed over two years, The Queen of Versailles follows Jackie and David Siegel (the time-share magnate / Westgate Resorts) while they build one of the largest and most expensive homes in the United States — just as the economy turns around. The already 70+ year old David is visibly aging before our eyes as he battles banks and the now unsustainable spending habits of his former beauty queen wife.
Lauren Greenfield only meant to take a few pictures of a very wealthy family in the midst of all their opulence. Her subjects were the Siegels — the self-made billionaire, the trophy wife, the eight not-as-maladjusted-as-you-might-think children, the monochromatic menagerie of animals. But once the family began opening up about their lives, the woman behind the camera decided to stick around a little while longer, positing that there might be more to this story than just infinity symbols for account balances. Her perseverance resulted in an alternately hilarious and heart-wrenching cautionary tale about the excesses of the American dream.