Making the Grades
Is the course of a person's life governed by chance or destiny? That is the question poised in the movie One Night With the King, an embellished recounting of the Biblical story of Esther.
Political tensions grow in the Persian Empire as King Xerxes (Luke Goss) weighs the cost of beginning a war with the Greeks, teeter tottering between the opposing council given from his two closest advisors, Prince Admantha (John Noble) and Prince Memucan (Omar Sharif). Accused by his subjects of being an indecisive leader, and publicly embarrassed when his wife Vashti (Jyoti Dogra) defies his orders, the monarch quickly quiets both issues by banishing the insubordinate woman. Then, to impress his might and power upon the whole kingdom, the ruler decrees a gathering of all the beautiful, eligible maidens within his realm, so he can choose a replacement to share his throne.
Caught in the scope of this royal edict is a young Jew named Hadassah (Tiffany Dupont). Warned by her guardian Mordecai (John Rhys-Davies), who works as a scribe at the palace, of the possible dangers of having their cultural and religious identity known, the pretty peasant calls herself Esther when she is forcibly taken by the King's soldiers.
But the quest for a new queen is not the only thing afoot at the castle. In dark halls and quiet corners treasonous plots are being discussed in whispered tones. And it is not just the regal ruler who needs fear assassination. It is also the Jews living within the Empire's boarders, because of the cunning plans of Haman (James Callis). An up-and-comer in the royal court, he secretly harbors an ancient blood feud against the descendants of Israel.
Those familiar with the Old Testament account will know the fate of Esther and the pivotal position she finds herself in as these conspiracies unfold. While this telling of her tale provides more intrigue and romance than the original text, the filmmakers do try to keep the dramatization family friendly. The depiction of bloodied corpses on the battlefield, some implied murders, brief sensuality and eunuchs that mention the loss of their manhood (no details are discussed) may be content concerns for young viewers. Despite this and the ample application of artistic license, One Night With The King still conveys much of the faith and courage of this historic heroine. Whether by accident or design, she chooses her course of action with the brave words: "If I perish...I perish."
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about One Night With The King.
Why does Mordecia suggest to Esther that she may have been born "for such a time as this?" Do you believe people have a mission to fulfill, or a greater purpose to accomplish during their lives?
Prince Memucan asks King Xerxes why he "thirsts for war" when he can "drink so deeply of peace?" What is it that tempts the monarch to go to battle? Are there ever times when your thirst for something comes at the expense of drinking deeply of what you already have?
You can find the full account of Esther in the Bible. To learn more about the Jewish holiday of Purim, check out this site: http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday9.htm