Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Sep 26, 2012
    75
    The Queen of Versailles leaves viewers with one feeling about the Siegels: Let them eat stale cake.
  2. Reviewed by: Steve Rose
    Sep 9, 2012
    80
    Never has grotesque wealth looked so unenviable, or its removal been so entertaining, as in this garishly watchable riches-to-rags documentary.
  3. Reviewed by: Steve Rose
    Sep 9, 2012
    80
    Never has grotesque wealth looked so unenviable, or its removal been so entertaining, as in this garishly watchable riches-to-rags documentary.
  4. Reviewed by: Philip Wilding
    Sep 3, 2012
    80
    A bizarre and mesmerising journey to the heart of Cloud Cuckoo Land.
  5. Reviewed by: Neil Smith
    Aug 27, 2012
    80
    It's perfectly possible to like the title character of Lauren Greenfield's documentary – Jackie Siegel – while detesting everything she represents: grotesque financial inequality, jaw-dropping ignorance and appalling bad taste.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Aug 17, 2012
    88
    Although it's a guilty pleasure, The Queen of Versailles is artful enough that both the prosecution and the defense could invoke it when the peasants cry "Off with their heads!"
  7. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 9, 2012
    80
    The Queen of Versailles is funny, sad, infuriating, instructive. It's the American Dream inflated to ridiculous extremes, until it bursts.
  8. 88
    Everything about The Queen of Versailles, a documentary both sharply observant and deliciously funny, is jumbo-sized – the riches, the rags, his ego, her breasts, their steroidal pursuit of happiness.
  9. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Aug 2, 2012
    75
    Watching The Queen of Versailles you don't know whether to laugh or cry.
  10. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Aug 2, 2012
    88
    By the end, the movie has pulled off a small miracle: You become absorbed in the lives of these people for who they are and not what they own.
  11. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Aug 2, 2012
    100
    An indelible portrait of an American family at its most blithely macabre.
  12. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Aug 1, 2012
    67
    The Queen of Versailles encourages the very worst tendencies in the audience: to sneer at the Siegels, to marvel at their tackiness, to root for their fall from grace.
  13. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Aug 1, 2012
    88
    Some of Jackie's dialogue is so good it would distinguish a sitcom.
  14. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Jul 26, 2012
    100
    The Queen of Versailles turns out to be a portrait -- appalling, absorbing and improbably affecting -- of how, even within a system seemingly designed to ensure that the rich get richer, sometimes the rich get poorer.
  15. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jul 26, 2012
    88
    The Queen of Versailles combines the voyeuristic thrills of reality TV with the soul-revealing artistry of great portraiture and the head-shaking revelations of solid investigative reporting.
  16. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jul 26, 2012
    88
    Queen of Versailles is still worthwhile, not because it questions all-American entitlement but because it prompts us to think hard about what, exactly, we believe we're entitled to.
  17. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jul 20, 2012
    85
    Greenfield's refusal to pass judgment on the Siegels lends her subjects and their marriage unexpected complexity and depth - especially Jackie, a true force of nature.
  18. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Jul 20, 2012
    75
    The Siegels make the Kardashians and Donald Trump look like tasteful pikers when it comes to egregiously conspicuous consumption, sheer hubris and utter refusal to take responsibility for their actions.
  19. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jul 19, 2012
    75
    The point of the film is not to scorn or mock the Siegels, despite their excesses. They embody the quintessentially American urge to live beyond one's means. Their saga is simply the story of a nation's materialism writ large.
  20. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Jul 19, 2012
    80
    In Greenfield's canny and compassionate view, their post-collapse reality check is an emblem of consumerism as affliction, and surprisingly relatable.
  21. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Jul 19, 2012
    90
    Schadenfreude and disgust may be unavoidable, but to withhold all sympathy from the Siegels is to deny their humanity and shortchange your own. Marvel at the ornate frame, mock the vulgarity of the images if you want, but let's not kid ourselves. If this film is a portrait, it is also a mirror.
  22. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Jul 19, 2012
    85
    There's a certain type of painful honesty that shines through in both their interviews toward the end and, particularly, in those with the staff.
  23. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Jul 19, 2012
    83
    Slickly made if not particularly stylish, the movie maintains its entertainment value for picking ideal models of American excess.
  24. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Jul 19, 2012
    40
    The steady wink wink of Queen of Versailles is wearing. I'd say Greenfield is exploiting a narcissist's willingness to talk endlessly about herself, but I think it just as likely that Jackie is exploiting Greenfield's willingness to listen. And to keep that wonderful mechanical eye focused on her.
  25. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Jul 19, 2012
    80
    This is certainly an apt time to make a crowd-pleasing movie about rich villains, but Greenfield is not an exploiter - she's an artist.
  26. Reviewed by: Karina Longworth
    Jul 17, 2012
    60
    I've seen The Queen of Versailles twice, and both times the audience laughed frequently at the Siegel family's sheer tackiness.
  27. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jul 17, 2012
    60
    Director Lauren Greenfield has a catty eye, but she's not after simple schadenfreude as the Siegels' time-share hotels are foreclosed, the kids have to fly coach [gasp], and poops go unscooped by a phalanx of laid-off servants.
  28. Reviewed by: Budd Wilkins
    Jul 17, 2012
    75
    Lauren Greenfield's film evolves from an ode to entitled obliviousness to a more evenhanded character study, tracing the fault lines that develop within the Siegel family.
  29. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Jul 11, 2012
    50
    The Queen of Versailles will prompt loathing not only among the so-called 99 Percent, but among those in the top 1 percent who would like someone more sane to represent them on camera.
  30. Reviewed by: Ray Greene
    Jul 11, 2012
    70
    Greenfield's fly on the wall view of obscene wealth punctured like a toy balloon is as current as a blog or a headline.
  31. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Jul 11, 2012
    91
    To an extent, Greenfield tries to have it both ways with her film: she allows us to enjoy the fantasy of being rich, while also letting us see the bastards suffer a little.
  32. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Jul 11, 2012
    100
    A succulently entertaining movie that invites you to splash around in the dreams and follies of folks so rich they're the 1 percent of the 1 percent. It's like a champagne bath laced with arsenic.
  33. 80
    For Greenfield, the Siegels are a brilliant metaphor for everything farkakte about the U.S. economy and the culture that shaped it.
  34. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Jul 11, 2012
    80
    This timely and involving documentary elicits both sympathy and schadenfreude, as Greenfield regards her all-too-vilifiable subjects with a complexity that should impress viewers of all economic and political persuasions.
  35. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jul 11, 2012
    70
    Like a Theodore Dreiser novel for our time, infused with the vivid, vulgar spirit of reality TV. It often had the sold-out Eccles Center howling, but also has elements of profound tragedy and allegory.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 24 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Aug 7, 2012
    7
    What a refreshing film after all the movies filled with gunfire and other forms of violence substituting for a plot. If this wasn't true, you would have thought they had made it up. I kept wondering why they felt the need to build this monstrosity. But we all learned all much our society lived on debt and image when the economy crashed. I wanted to feel sorry for this family but you couldn't as they created their own situation. She is a tacky mess(I'm being polite). He is a money hungry type who I wonder if he even cared about the people whose money he took in through his time share business.I read an article in the NY Times about the film and how they are now suing the director. The house was going to be 90,000 square feet. Need I say more. Full Review »
  2. Sep 9, 2012
    10
    This is one of the most honest and compelling accounts of the conspicuous consumption that's come to define the cliches of America's nouveau riche. There seems to be no end to the uncomfortable self-awareness of a crumbling empire. Absolutely fascinating. Full Review »
  3. Aug 4, 2012
    8
    Schadenfreude - pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. The entire audience at the screening of The Queen of Versailles experienced this feeling about the Siegel family; they are truly atrocious people. Two years ago, David and Jackie Siegel were billionaires. They had planes, Rolls Royces, multiple nannies for their seven kids, hosted parties for the Miss America pageant while David flirted with the contestants, and sat on a golden throne in their Orlando house during interviews for this documentary. They also began construction on a mansion called Versailles, a project which would become the largest house in the entire United States. It appears the filmmakers wanted to document the rise of this monstrosity of a house and display the lifestyle of the obscenely rich. Even better, these rich people liked to flaunt in front of the camera, not enjoy their splendor in private ala Bill Gates. David Siegel proudly claims he is individually responsible for George W. Bush winning the state of Florida and therefore the presidency; however, he chuckles that what he did was not exactly legal. Oh yes, schadenfreude. David called himself the 'King of Time Shares'. He built 28 resorts and an enormous building on the Vegas strip, parceled them up, and sold them 52 different times to vacationers. Then, in what must have exceeded all of the filmmakers' expectations, the recession hit and everybody in the country stopped buying time shares.

    The Siegels were billionaires and yet, they had no savings. They paid cash for the Versailles house and only later put a mortgage on it because that meant millions more in ready, liquid money. They put nothing away for college funds for their kids. In fact, Jackie stares at the camera exclaiming her children might actually have to go to college now. The Siegels can no longer keep up with the Versailles mortgage payments and put it up for sale unfinished for $75 million. The housing market just crashed, tens of thousands of families are entering foreclosure, including Jackie's best friend, and the Siegels are trying to move a $75 million dollar mistake. The realtors may not be quite up to the task of marketing the house since one of the agents exclaims how unique Versailles (pronouncing it Versize) is. Nobody is buying time shares, therefore, there is no money coming in to the company, and David lays off 7,000 employees. He also fires 19 household servants. Dogs run around crapping all over the house and nobody picks it up. A lizard dies of lack of food and water, a fish floats at the top of its filthy tank, and one of the kids exclaims, "I didn't know we even had a lizard." Don't worry, Jackie still compulsively shops to add to the ridiculous piles of 'stuff' that the kids do not even know they have. She also maintains her plastic surgery regimen. Jackie's chest has enjoyed being a a third character in this whole mess. Other than the Michael Moore type of documentaries which have a stated agenda, filmmakers are thought to be neutral arbiters. They film the action, interview the subjects, and edit it in a way fair to all the players. However, no matter how one edits the footage, the Siegels are going to come off looking like some very horrible people. David is 30 years Jackie's senior and now that their funds are rapidly dwindling away, he is starting to get tired of his third wife. He hides in his office (a couch in front of a flat screen surrounded by papers and food scraps) to enjoy being away from the chaos which his house has become. You will not envy the Siegels. They still have more money than you do, but you would never switch places with them. I walked out of the theater with a new appreciation for my situation in life knowing that most of us are normal folks going about our business and enjoy time with our family and friends. The fact that there are folks like the Siegels out there, who by the way are shocked a bank bailout did not filter down to them, makes you shake your head in shame of the human race.
    Full Review »