really good documentary about a rich family that seeks to build the largest private residence in the u.s. well, they sought to build a house that took care of all their wants and it turned out to be the largest. it’s a pretty stereotypical setup – blond woman with huge tits married to a much older entrepreneur who is filthy rich. they have 8 kids and several house staff, a private jet, etc. all your typical crap that people with a lot of money have. then the financial meltdown happens and their credit dries up. the house is in the middle of construction. they never really put any money aside so they have to adjust, just like the rest of the country.
there is more than meets the eye, though. the blond wife isn’t as dumb as the stereotype would want you to believe. the entrepreneur (a republican, of course) isn’t as uncaring and insulated from the crisis as some may think. he’s got a huge ego and money means far too much to him, sure, but he’s as pissed at wall street as the average walmart shopper. so, they start to cut back. kids go to public schools, wife’s shopping habit is satisfied at walmart instead of gucci, they lay off most of the house staff (as a result pets start dying and dog shit litters the house), the husband complains about people leaving the lights on throughout the house, etc. but the wife still does charity work and tries her hardest to keep the family together. see, she came from relatively low means so this isn’t that unusual to her and she rolls with the punches. there’s a lot of strength from her character. as much as i expected to hate the bitch, she’s not evil. she let the wealth get out of control and she’s too wrapped up in image, but she’s a caring person who wants her family to succeed. so when the family begins to unravel because of the stress that the patriarch feels, it humanizes the experience. sure, they’re rich people with no forethought and with some skewed priorities, but just as dark days is about humanizing those who live in the gutter, this humanizes those who live in the tower. don’t get me wrong, i’m not shedding tears for these people because they have to sell their dream home and cut back to only two house staff. they had it better than most ever will and had plenty of opportunity to squirrel away some money for the rainy days.
that’s the big difference between the rich and the rest of us. their downfall means going from billions to “broke” like trump. one time he was walking on the streets with his daughter and he pointed at a homeless guy and told his daughter that that man was richer than he was because he (trump) was in debt so much. the arrogance and ignorance of a statement like that can easily turn into a general disdain for all wealthy people who fall on hard times. this movie is a reminder (should we even need one?) in this time of “us vs. them” and “1% vs. 99%” that they are human too.
it’s also got lots of little side stories about the family dynamic – an adopted kid, a somewhat estranged son, divorces, las vegas being the undoing of two generations of siegels, etc. and of course it’s a good cautionary tale about the power of ego, money, losing perspective, etc.