A group of women at an eating disorder clinic. Kids and teens thinking about and spending money. A wealthy couple building their dream house. These people may not on the surface have a lot in common, but what they do have in common is this: their lives have been documented on film by the photographer Lauren Greenfield, in the documentaries Thin, Kids + Money, and The Queen of Versailles, respectively.
I went to a screening of The Queen of Versailles on Friday May 4th as part of the Hot Docs festival here in Toronto, and the film was powerful, interesting, intelligent, and beautifully shot.
The film follows David and Jackie Siegel and their wish to build the largest single-family home in America. David is a real estate mogul who lives in a mansion in Florida and has decided to build his dream house – a replica of Versailles. But then Wall Street crashes and his dreams tumble down along with it. Lauren met Jackie when photographing Donatella Versace for Elle magazine, and was invited to stay with Jackie. The two became friends and Lauren soon found her story. It’s a story of dreams, money, love, work, and family. The Queen of Versailles is definitely a film worth seeing.