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Kim Hopkins (2012)



Our Score
If you relocate Lauren Greenfield's eye-opening property-crash documentary The Queen of Versailles from Las Vegas to York, you get this fascinating, if occasionally circuitous profile of Helen Heraty. Director Kim Hopkins's film follows the mother of seven as she buys the historic Gray's Court with new husband John Edwards and then vows to turn it into a boutique hotel. Even with a fair wind, renovating 72 rooms would have been a herculean task. But, as the recession starts to bite, Heraty is soon in a battle with the banks that becomes something of a sideshow to her ongoing feud with neighbours, who keep parking on what she claims is private property. With Edwards working as an architect 150 miles away, Heraty is left to shoulder much of the burden alone. But such is her confrontational nature that she almost delights in making things more difficult for herself. Shot over five years and ending on a note of poignant positivity, this confirms that great British eccentrics continue to thrive, but you wouldn't necessarily want to live next door to them.


Documentary following Helen, a mother of seven who, along with her new partner, risked bankruptcy and homelessness during the recession in pursuit of her dream of converting a 72-room mansion in the centre of York into an hotel. Filmed over a period of five years, the programme reveals the human cost of the mortgage crisis as Helen pleads for bank loans to cover the cost of renovations and battles with her neighbours over the rights to the courtyard.

Cast & Crew

Director Kim Hopkins

Other Information

Language: English Colour Theatrical distributor: Ball Park Film Distributors Released on: 4 Oct 2013


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