A movie review by sophomore Trinity Nalls
The movie is set in Susa, Persia. The King Xerxes is holding a feast for all of the royal people. He asks for his wife to come and dance before the guests, because he wants the guests to see her beauty. When the queen refuses, King Xerxes is advised to banish her and select a more worthy queen.
All beautiful virgin women in the stronghold of Susa are brought in so Xerxes could leave behind a queen to keep the kingdom unified.
Hadassah is living a normal life with her uncle Mordecai but when the king send guards to capture Hadassah, she changes her name to Esther so as not to reveal her nationality. She is taken in with the rest of the selected women and given cosmetics, perfumes, and treatments under the care of Hegai, the king’s royal eunuch.
On their night with the king, each contestant is allowed to bring along whatever she wishes from the harem. She goes in the evening and returns in the morning to a second harem to another royal eunuch who is custodian to the concubines. She will not be able to return to the king unless she pleases him and he summons her by name. During their preparation, Hegai discovers Esther can read and listens to her reading to the other contestants.
Late one night, he brings her to King Xerxes to read to him. She starts reading from the assigned scroll and then begins telling the love story of Jacob and Rachel (from the Old Testament). When Esther had made the switch, King Xerxes was amused and impressed and when he dismissed her, he told her that she should one day read to him again.
Because of this, Esther fell in love with the king. When it is Esther's turn for her 'one night with the king', she wins the king's favor by revealing her heart to him. He chooses her and crowns her queen.
At the same time, Haman the Agagite is promoted to the highest-ranking official. But when he has everyone kneel before him, Mordecai refuses, declaring he will only kneel before God and the king. He announces himself before Haman to be a son of Abraham, a Jew. Haman, filled with hatred, vows to destroy Mordecai and all his people because centuries earlier, Jews persecuted his forefathers.
Esther discovers the plot and breaks protocol by going before the king without being summoned, risking her life to plead for her people. The king lowers his scepter to her and spares her life out of his love for her. Afterwards, Esther invites Haman and Xerxes to a banquet and there she reveals her nationality and Haman’s plot to kill the Jews.
The film generally sticks to the main plot of the Biblical version. However, the film adds extra elements not really present in the Bible, as well as adding several minor characters not mentioned in the bible. Instead of sticking to the bible for facts, this movie actually created its own scene to show the audience what might have happened. For example, the build-up to the climax focuses mainly on Haman and his plot to destroy the Jews, and Esther is hardly featured until chapter 6. In the movie, Esther is in every scene, and it is Haman who receives very little screen-time until the last third of the film.
Even though the characters look like they would belong in the bible, Xerxes looks like a cat. This is information crucial for you to understand the entire story.