Jackie and David Siegel, a billionaire real estate couple, were triumphantly building the biggest house in America for themselves—a sprawling 90,000-square-foot palace inspired by Versailles—when their timeshare empire falters and the economic crisis hits…
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Fascinating. The wealth gap in this nation is horrific and as satisfying it is to watch the rich flounder, you can't help but feel for this woman who really believes in keeping spirits high and her family happy (even if she is entitled). The guy seems like a complete dirtbag, and it's disappointing that he's continued building Versailles after this film came out. But yeah, this is a great "only in America" film.
By (largely) forgoing cheap irony in favor of a rich one (pun not intended), the film presents as useful a view of the American dream—its noble origins and grotesque byproducts—as any offered this year in cinema.
The excellent craft of this documentary is in the shift in style from beginning to end to match the narrative. The opening scenes are shot like an austere chronicle of magnificence and near the end the doc turns into a reality tv program.
These people have millions of $$$ but they feed their kids crap McDonald's food and their pets die of neglect. The American Nightmare. One of their kids OD'd and died, too. Probably while they were out shopping.
What begins as a kind of documentary reality show about a wealthy couple building the largest house in the US, a 90,000 square foot recreation of the palace of Versailles, becomes a unique look at the 2008 financial crisis when it all comes crashing down around them. A strangely sobering look at obscene wealth and its carelessness humbled in the face of economic hardship.