Wednesday, April 24, 2013

1834 - The Queen of Versailles

Wanted to see this last year at Hot Docs, but it was madness trying to get a ticket.  If you don't know, this is about rich people having to deal with the fact that they're probably not going to be rich anymore. A timeshare company gets screwed over when the american banking system collapses and suddenly the plans for his $100M home fall apart.  Poor man.  And yet his wife continues to live as though they're making fistfulls of cash.  They have to lay off half of their serving staff.  When she goes to rent a car she asks what the name of her driver will be.  It's very entertaining in that regard, but sad as shit when you realize how disconnected this people and their family is.  They don't really even seem to like each other.  The mother claims she had seven kids because it was fun to have kids, but if she ever thought she'd have to raise them without nannies she probably would have stopped at two.
This is a tough documentary because it's not really about the economy in any meaningful way so much as it is watching the train wreck of this white trash family, who just happened to get rich, and now they're not quite as rich.  It's hard to really connect and care about them at all.
I liked it enough and glad I checked it out, but it's hard to give it a solid recommendation.  Casual documentary lovers will probably enjoy, but those looking for something hard hitting and emotion - keep looking.

1 comment:

Jennifer Bragg said...

I actually really enjoyed this one. You're right it isn't a hard hitting film, but I thought it was an excellent depiction of the bizarre circus atmosphere surrounding rich people. What really fascinated me about it is that fact that they legitimately were in serious financial trouble despite the fact that they were very wealthy. Lifestyle inflation is a horrifying trend and I'm always amazed at how somebody who makes millions of dollars a year can end up basically in the same position as somebody who makes $50,000 a year in terms of debt. Because the more money people make they just increase their mortgages, their car payments, their lines of credit. I thought this film really got inside that. And I also loved the contrasting interviews with the husband - where right off the top he was the cockiest person in the world and then when he was re-interviewed at the end he had to admit that he was completely wrong about everything he believed when the documentary started.