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The Queen of Versailles: Funhouse Mirror of the Soul

Lauren Greenfield and Benoît Jacquot should swap film titles. Greenfield’s new documentary following the fall of Jacqueline QueenVersaillesJackieSiegel and her “timeshare king” husband David Siegel is called The Queen of Versailles. Jacquot’s new period drama outing Marie-Antoinette bears the name Farewell, My Queen.

Promptly upon The Queen of Versailles’ premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Mr. Siegel sued Ms. Greenfield over the fest’s marketing copy, which he maintained falsely portrayed his Westgate Resorts company as being on the fritz. He has since expanded his legal gripe.

Come to think of it, Cease and Desist, My King could be pretty catchy.

What a royal mess. The recession smote the dwelling that the Siegels had in the works over 90,000 square feet of Orlando. Now they and their eight children must hunker down in their 26,000-square-foot shack.VersaillesOrlando

Behold the American Dream gone wack. And learn something about your soul. Will you sympathize Jackie, whose résumé includes a computer engineering degree and stints as a waitress, model and Mrs. Florida? Even admire her sunny endurance? Or will you scorn her and her mini-Madoff and wish a pox on their house? The Queen of Versailles is ultimately a test of -- and holds up a funhouse mirror to -- our own character.

The film opens theatrically at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center in Manhattan. Mark the date: July 20, 2012. 

Surely distributor Magnolia Pictures has a sense of humor. Or is it pure coincidence that on this day in 1789 revolutionary France began the “Great Fear” that would move peasants to attack manor houses, soon bringing feudalism to its knees?

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