Saturday, 16 February 2013

REVIEW - THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES


We human beings are possessed of two important features which set us apart from all other species. One is an advanced intelligence, a capacity to consider many conflicting points of view and to make judgements thusly, to think laterally. The other is money. One is a progressive feature, the other regressive. Money creates a hierarchical social system which few have the nerve to challenge, and in so doing, exposes our greed, envy, sloth, and cowardly acceptance of the superiority of others who, we can identify, have little meaningful claim to superiority over anyone. It is easy to ward off emotions such as sympathy when one witnesses the privileged fall on hard times; Lauren Greenfield lays it on thick with her documentary, and began to erode my wall of stoic indifference to the plight of the filthy rich Siegel family, until they gave me another reason to deem them worthy of their misfortunes, dispensed to them by the recession. So you're compelled to spend this money? You literally cannot resist? I know the feeling - every time I see a neon pink leopard print tracksuit, I just have to have it. Bitch please, you have no such compulsion. This 'Queen', Jacqui Siegel, is a misguided soul, really, not a bad person. She was guided away from her own intelligence, married a man more than 30 years her senior and had seven children, who know their nannies better than they know her. She's a fascinating character, but not an infuriating one in whose company to spend time. The same can't be said of her bilious bully of a husband, nor his almost equally toxic son - there's a segment, early on, focusing on the son and the family business which felt like a glimpse into the devil's daydreams, and I figured that I might not be able to endure a whole film of this. Luckily, though, the Siegels soon get what they deserve. The stock market drops, and so do their smiles. Every cloud, right?