Double feature: There seem to be two primary kinds of movies about money – those documenting what it can do to people, and those documenting what lack of it can do to people. “The Queen of Versailles” and “Bernie” are both squarely in the former category.
Both make unequivocal arguments about what money attracts, and what it repels. Both are careful to show what certain people are willing to put up with to increase their proximity to the comforts of wealth.
Although one is a documentary and the other a narrative film, both lean heavily on quintessentially theatrical techniques to tell their respective stories: the Greek chorus of townspeople in “Bernie,” the photographic staging of “The Queen of Versailles.”
And both linger on the gracelessness of their wealthy protagonists – their un-appreciativeness and narrow spirits – to dial down their viewers’ envy (and sympathy) in favor of unalloyed schadenfreude.
(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “Caroline on Crack” and “annieseats” at Flickr)