One Night With The King
I had already been reading through the book of Esther this week when my husband brought home the movie “One Night with the King” for our weekend dvd break. I am by no means a movie buff, preferring books to flicks, but this movie has some serious feminist appeal to it. So I put down my stack of library studies and tuned in to the story of Queen Esther.
In a nutshell, Esther is an unlikely heroine. She’s not your typical gun-toting, bicep-bulging woman of so many of today’s films with lead female characters who bash their way into the spotlight by overpowering everyone in their path. Those movies are cool in their own right, but “One Night with the Queen” carries a different kind of coolness.
This movie follows the story of Hadassah, aka Esther, from early adulthood through her defining moment as Queen where she saves an entire race of people – her own people – from genocide. There are flashbacks from her childhood and some history lessons mingled in to help piece her background together. I promise to refrain from spoilers, so the rest of this review will simply be my opinion of the main characters involved.
Esther is portrayed as a strong woman. Not the kind of strength one would use to overpower a man by brute force, but the kind of strength that comes from wisdom and faith. Those are skills that that far outweigh physical abilities. Queen Esther knew when to back down and when to speak up. Had they been playing a poker match, she would no doubt have taken all.
I appreciated the depiction of the King as well. King Ahasuerus is shown in several contexts which makes him both likable and scary at the same time. His relationship with Esther is also kind of a “hot and cold” roller coaster, which adds to the drama of Esther’s ultimate decision to buck the system and also establishes an element of realism I didn’t quite expect.
Haman, a noble plotting to kill the King and take over, is despicable as he should be considering his devilish schemes and two-faced lies. There are no likable moments for him. There was one point toward the end of the film where he is momentarily alone with Queen Esther and he begins to mock her. At that point, I was really hoping to see Esther get in a good left upper cut to Haman’s chin, but alas, she is too smart for that. She plays her cards right and within moments… oops… I promised no spoilers. :D
I love the cover shot for this dvd. It truly encapsulates the best part of the entire film, when Esther goes against “protocol” and risks her life to stand before her husband, the king. It may be a little hard to swallow to see that a woman takes her life in her own hands to approach the man she is married to, but such were the man-made rules of that day. If you really think about it, not only did Esther go against “protocol” but she was a WOMAN who dared defy the King. This point is not left as a subtle suggestion. There is much discussion among the male characters at various points in the film as to how both Queen Vashti (Ahasuerus’ first wife) and Queen Esther’s open defiance would send a message to all women and the men feared that that their wives would become disrespectful and contemptuous to them. Yes, feminism was alive in the 6th Century BC. ;)
If you have been fortunate enough to see this film, feel free to add your comments below. Warning: spoilers may exist beyond this point…