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One Night With the King – review

April 5, 2011

One of the things we did for Purim was to watch “One Night With the King”. Here is our take on the movie.

The bible tells us that Haman was an Agagite. That is a fact that might easily be missed if one does not know bible history. So, I appreciate that they brought out in the movie the fact that Haman should not have even been born. According to the Jewish teachings, the wife of Agag conceived the night before Agag’s death. Had King Shaul/Saul killed Agag as G-d instructed him to do, she would not have conceived and Haman would not have been born. Although the Bible does not go into the details of the conception and the queen’s escape, there are mentions of her in Jewish teachings. We do know that Shaul was supposed to eliminate the evil Amalekite people…and he disobeyed. Disobedience has consequences. So does rising up against G-d’s people!

That was the positive side of the movie. We don’t mind a bit of literary license when it comes to conversations. We don’t mind a bit of fleshing out of historical facts relevant to the story. We don’t mind adding cultural information. We DO, however, mind when they skew things in ways that actually go against the bible account.

For example:

*In the movie, Mordechai was an undercover Jew. Yet, not only is there nothing in scripture to indicate that he was hiding his status as  Jew, but there are other evidences that he was actually a rabbi…a leader of his people!

*There is no three-day fast prior to Esther coming into the presence of the King.

*Esther, not Mordechai, mentions the idea of her possibly being there for this time.

*The King suspects her of loving another. There is tension between them. In the biblical account, the only hint of any possible tension is that the King has not summoned her for 30 days. Considering he had a harem…that is not much to go on.

*Esther runs through the rain to see the King the day after she hears the news. In the bible account, we get a picture of a stately Queen, properly robed who comes into the presence of her husband with a banquet already prepared…or at least in process. The movie makes it look like Esther came up with a banquet almost as an afterthought.

*When Esther appears, they show everyone in the King’s presence trying to get him to kill her making it sound like there is a mandate that a person MUST be killed for coming unsummoned. While it is true about the law…there is the proviso of the King holding out his scepter. In the movie, of course, they play off this. The King is upset with Esther already due to his suspicions and now he must decide whether to follow the advice of everyone in the room and have her killed or show her mercy.

*The whole scene between Esther, the King and Haman at her banquets is completely off. Haman…instead of begging Esther for his life, ridicules the Queen and threatens her.

There were other literary licenses taken, but they are not that big of a deal so long as they do not go against the scriptures.For example: Vashti supposedly refuses to attend the King’s banquet because she opposes a war that he is planning against the Greeks. Now, we do know from history that he did go to war with the Greeks…and, in fact, did rather poorly. However, I have not found a record of Vashti being opposed and holding her own banquet in protest. In fact, as I understand it, the women and the men simply did not mix at these kinds of gathering and Vashti’s refusal to come when called was because it was inappropriate.

I know that some would say to just take the movie for what it is…a movie. Forget about it being an account of a real even that happened long ago. Dave and I talked about that. Even if we discard the source and just take it as a screenplay, there are a few holes in it. It is kind of like watching something where you are going “hey…no one would do that! That makes no sense!” Obviously, I am writing this over two weeks after watching the movie. Therefore, I do not recall all the details within it.

Will we watch it again? I don’t know. I rather doubt it, but it is possible that we might…at some time. In the meantime, we have another movie about Esther that we have been told is fairly accurate. When we watch it, we will give a review of that one, too.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Dawn Phenix permalink
    April 5, 2011 4:23 PM

    Good to know. Some who are easily confused should maybe stay away from an inaccurate account of scripture, while others who see the movie that have no clue might become interested in God and latter learn the whole truth. Thanks for the movie critique 🙂

    • April 7, 2011 12:07 AM

      I have to think when I watch movies to remember what is Hollywood and what is bible. What I did not mention…and which was very disappointing…is that this movie was done by “Christians”.

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