Prayer Focus
Movie Review

One Night with the King

MPAA Rating: PG for violence, some sensuality and thematic elements

Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
CONTRIBUTOR


Excellent!
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Family
Genre:
Drama, Historical, Christian
Length:
2 hr. 2 min.
Year of Release:
2006
USA Release:
October 13, 2006
Featuring: Peter O’Toole (Samuel), Tiffany Dupont (Esther), James Callis (Haman), John Rhys-Davies (Mordecai), Omar Sharif (Prince Memucan), Luke Goss (Xerxes), John Noble (Prince Admantha), Tommy Lister (Hegai)
Director: Michael O. Sajbel
Producer: Gener8Xion Entertainment / Marilyn Beaubien, Stephan Blinn, Richard J. Cook, Matthew Crouch, Wendi Lampassi, Lawrence Mortorff, John Nelson
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Copyright, Gener8Xion Entertainment
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Gener8Xion Entertainment

What does the Bible say about…

See movie review: Esther (2000)

Copyright, Gener8Xion Entertainment
Copyright, Gener8Xion Entertainment
Copyright, Gener8Xion Entertainment
Copyright, Gener8Xion Entertainment
Copyright, Gener8Xion Entertainment
Copyright, Gener8Xion Entertainment
Copyright, Gener8Xion Entertainment
Copyright, Gener8Xion Entertainment
Copyright, Gener8Xion Entertainment
Copyright, Gener8Xion Entertainment
“Feel the touch of destiny”

Esther, Jewish queen of gentile Persia, set a remarkable example of personal sacrifice. Although understandably at first hesitant, she willingly risked her life so others could be saved. In this respect she prefigured the sacrifice of the coming Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, who willingly gave His life so each of us could have the opportunity to receive God’s gift of salvation, eternal life in His Kingdom.

The book of Esther is a complement to the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Although those books in the Bible describe life for the Jews who returned to Palestine, Esther is the only Bible book that offers a portrait of those who chose to remain in Persia.

Esther’s story takes place near the end of these events described in the Old Testament. The two kingdoms of Israel and Judah had fallen and been taken into captivity in Assyria and Babylon, respectively.

Hadassah, Esther’s real Jewish name (played with sweet genuineness by beautiful new comer, Tiffany Dupont), was born in Susa (Shushan), a city east of the Tigris River, into a loving and devout Jewish family whose roots lay in the esteemed tribe of Benjamin. When she was just a child her Mother and Father were killed by the armies of the decedents of the evil King Agag of the Amalakites.

It was a wonderful “history lesson” within this film to go back 500 years to the pivotal event which leads up to the massacre of many Jews down through these centuries, including Hadassah’s parents. The fact being that King Saul was not obedient to God’s instructions to destroy “utterly” the Amalekite King Agag and all his peoples, including all their possessions and livestock. The Prophet Samuel (a cameo appearance by Peter O’Toole, who at age 74 is still a commanding presence onscreen) denounces Saul’s disobedience and proclaims, “…for rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…” Samuel draws his sword to go and finish the commandment of God.

Hadassah’s older cousin Mordecai (John Rhys-Davies in a decisive yet touching performance), a scribe serving in the court of King Xerxes, has taken care of the orphaned girl since her parent’s death.

“And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother” (the book of Esther, Chapter 2 verse 7).

The love they hold for one another is truly more like that of a father and daughter. He is concerned for her safety and cares much that she is becoming a beautiful girl on the brink of womanhood. He regards her as a “young lady of purity,” setting the stage for her terrifying capture into the royal harem of the King.

King Xerxes (handsome British actor, Luke Goss) has been advised to take a new, more worthy, Queen after the beautiful Queen Vashti publicly humiliates him by refusing to attend a great celebration. This refusal is a direct violation of royal protocol, which all his advisors back with unwavering regard. So King Xerxes orders his servants to launch a search throughout the empire for a new and more devoted Queen.

“Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti” (Esther 2:2-4).

The king agrees with the edict of protocol and looks forward to the prospect of a beautiful wife who could become his new queen.

As the danger draws ever more near that Hadassah may be the next to be taken captive, Mordecai makes her swear to never divulge her Jewish linage for fear she may be slain. He changes her name to “Esther,” which is a Babylonian word for “star,” but having the double meaning for the Jewish “Star of David.” Esther hesitantly agrees and “had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not show it” (Esther 2:11).

The king’s decree brought to his palace many beautiful young women, but none was more beautiful than Esther. From the beginning Hegai (the best ever performance by former wrestler Tom “Tiny” Lister, Jr.), a eunuch and custodian of the women, favored Esther, “so he readily gave beauty preparations to her, besides her allowance” (Esther 2:9).

In turn, each young maiden was presented before the king. When it came Esther’s turn, she was allowed to choose her jewels from the royal storehouse. However, “she requested nothing but what Hegai the king’s eunuch, the custodian of the women, advised. And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her” (verse 15). Hegai knew the king’s social tastes. Esther deferred to Hegai’s advice, and out of this blossomed a perfect friendship.

Finally, Esther was presented before the king. “The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. Then the king made a great feast, the Feast of Esther, for all his officials and servants; and he proclaimed a holiday in the provinces and gave gifts according to the generosity of a king” (verses 17-18). Thus Esther became more than just queen of Persia, she and King Xerxes had a committed relationship based on true love.

Beneath the obvious love story is a wave of treachery and deceit. The king’s cousin, Admatha (a deliciously vile John Noble—perhaps even as evil as his LOTR roll as Denethor) is plotting with the captain of the king’s guard, Haman (James Callis, ever the master of the traitorous character) to overthrow the king and take the kingdom from Xerxes. And as the biblical account goes, Mordecai overhears a plot to poison the king, alerts Esther, who in turn saves her beloved’s life. She commands that Mordecai’s name be put on the royal record as the sole reason the king’s life was saved, for without the keen eyes and ears of Mordecai, the King’s fate would have been certain death.

Another chain of events then begin that will eventually threaten Esther and Mordecai and all of the Jewish nation, longtime enemies of the Amalakites, of which Haman was chief.

At this point, I would say we are in part two of this wonderful movie. The first half so far being a positive love story akin to near fairy tale status. The second half becomes more dark and riveting as Haman schemes and nearly succeeds, in annihilating the whole of the Jewish peoples then living. In the process, he intends on elevating himself and his family to near kingly levels.

King Xerxes promotes Haman above all other officials and nobles, even giving Admatha’s house and possessions over to Haman. King Xerxes was kept from knowing it was indeed Mordecai, his Jewish scribe, that found out the plot of Admatha to poison his cousin and take over the throne. The king was led to believe it was because of Haman’s bravery that Admatha’s plot was squelched.

And so, by the king’s order all the others were to bow and pay homage to Haman. But Mordecai, faithful to God’s instruction that prohibited the veneration of anyone but God (Exodus 20:5), refuses. Haman then is inspired by his rage, to underhandedly get the King’s order to overtake all Jewish possessions as they are “a threat to the Kingdom because of their alliance with the democracy loving Greeks.”

Haman presented this plan, couched in deceptive language to hide his motivation, to the king:

“There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from all other people’s, and they do not keep the king’s laws. Therefore it is not fitting for the king to let them remain. If it pleases the king, let a decree be written that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who do the work, to bring it into the king’s treasuries” (Esther 3:8-9).

The king, alarmed at this perceived threat, agrees: “The money and the people are given to you, to do with them as seems good to you” (verse 11). The decree gave any Persian the right to kill Jews and loot their property. The city of Shushan and the palace were in confusion over this decree made in haste.

Up to this point, the king’s top council has been his faithful servant and servant of his father before him, Memucan (the best among his most recent roles, Omar Sharif). But the confused King Xerxes doesn’t listen when Memucan warns that signing the proclamation set down by Haman would be a threat to continued peace within the kingdom. Memucan advises and reminds Xerxes of all his father had built: “Solomon prospered upon the peace his own father had forged.” King Xerxes is now at a crossroads, in his role as leader and as his role as husband, for he knows that his wise Queen Esther feels that all men are created as equals under God.

When Mordecai learns that Haman, the king’s chief officer, is planning the total destruction of the Jews, he asks Esther to urge the King to stop the impending massacre. “If you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet, who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).

Even though, by law and royal protocol, she is forbidden to approach the king unless summoned, the brave Esther boldly goes before him as he holds court. The tension in this scene as Esther enters the court of King Xerxes uninvited, under peril of certain death to save her people, was every bit as emotionally charged as the famous chariot race in “Ben Hur.”

Knowing the story of Esther before seeing “One Night With The King” is like knowing the story of Moses before seeing “The Ten Commandments.” The lush beauty and rich, full character portrayals bring true life to Scripture and makes one want to see it over and over again. I cannot say enough about how this film takes a well-known part of Jewish history and brings it to vibrant life—at the same time treating the subject with integrity and all due respect. “One Night With The King” is a powerful testament to the Jewish roots of Christianity. It is a must-see for Christian and Jew alike.

Rated PG, this film can be watched and enjoyed by the entire family. There is no blood or violence, although there are obvious times when these subjects are referred to. There is no sex or nudity. The true love expressed between Esther and King Xerxes is mastered in a honest and beautiful way. She tells him the “story” of a boy named Jacob and his love for Rachel, being so strong and pure that he is willing to work 7 years and then 7 more years to win her hand in marriage. There is not even a kiss between them until the wedding night. The story is rich in texture and balanced between drama and humor, suspicion and intrigue, love, bravery, prayer, faith and God’s guidance.

Esther is a stunning role model for anyone of any age. The character of this young woman is for all to aspire to. She makes the best of a terrible situation when she and the other maidens are rounded up to be “candidates” for consideration of the king. She prays to God for guidance and courage. She encourages everyone to consider the precepts of God, without provoking conflict. Esther supports the fact that all people are equal in God’s eyes and that love is the greatest commandment in any culture. She shows wisdom and strength when making her decision to intercede for those who have no hope—for her people, Israel. She knows she may loose her own life and the love of her life, for doing so. Esther is shown praying, for she knows “those who wait on The Lord, shall renew their strength.”

Mordecai is a tribute to what the strength of every father and an honest worker for God can be. I loved the scene where he stands before Haman as others bow a knee before him and proclaims there is but one true God “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!” John Rhys-Davies proclaims his lines with such conviction, he is Mordecai in that instant. I cried to think there are so many men today who should and must stand up for this right, but instead push it to the wayside, in our society.

“One Night With The King” is an excellent, moving film that will change your perspective about our Christian heritage. The complete production was top notch. The sets were breath-taking, and the costumes stunning. Gener8Xion Entertainment has given its audiences a film for all to indulge in. I can truthfully say, it is right up there with other Biblical epics we’ve loved and enjoyed—not to mention the fact it can be used as a teaching tool that sets a fine example. It follows Biblical perceptive without being preachy, holding close to the basic story of Esther, and giving us some wonderful dialogue to follow, liberally laced with Scripture verse.

So many evil things do happen in our lives. Can we believe God for protection? We must be careful to interpret Scripture with Scripture, and if we examine the record, we find that God did not always protect His people from harm. He has absolute power to keep us safe, both physically and spiritually, but His engineering of the universe made room for man’s freedom to choose—a freedom of will to obey or to disobey Him. This is a deep mystery. Man’s disobedience brought evil into the world, and all of us are subject to it. God does not cancel out its effects, even for His choicest servants (John the Baptist, Stephen, those nameless victims of Hebrews 11:35-37, for example).

Nevertheless, we have the promises of God (read Romans 8:35-39) We can rest assured that we are invulnerable, so long as God does not give permission for us to be hurt. If He gives that permission, He will not leave us alone. He goes with us through the valley, the deep water, the furnace. He will never, absolutely never, leave us or forsake us. Esther knew this with all her heart, and this absolute assurance took her through a mission—The Valley of death, fraught with treachery—holding on tight to The Hand of God, He brought her safely out on the other side.

I can’t wait for the DVD to come out, and I hope it will include how they cast the character of Esther and a visit to India where they actually filmed within the exquisite ruins of centuries-old fortresses. I will place it in its rightful spot between “King Of Kings” and “The Ten Commandments.”

God has a purpose for every challenge He allows to come our way. As Esther, let us stand firm and allow Him to accomplish His will in our life!

Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer Comments
Positive
Positive—Wow, what an amazing story how God took an orphan, a minority, a jew and gave her Favor to become Queen of the Persian Empire which saved the slaughter of the Jewish people. If God can do that for her, then God can raise you up and me to be the next president or mayor, or doctor, or business person. This is a story of Hope, Encouragement, and Favor—and that if God can do that for her He can do that for me.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Joseph James, age 28
Positive—…undoubtedly one of the most high quality Christian movies to date in terms of production, material, and cast. Anyone who has ever been inspired by reading the book of Esther must see the film. Esther’s courage and commitment are contagious, and this film will inspire all who wish to achieve their full potential.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Melissa K., age 19
Positive—I think this movie was a great place to start. For those of you who say it is not like the actual book of Esther—remember this is Hollywood, not God, making this movie. But considering, all and all, they tried—let’s give them credit. Yes, the Bible does say do not add or take away, however, this is a movie not the bible. If this even causes someone to search out the scriptures, it has accomplished much—God’s word goes out and never comes back void. The movie did have some changes from the original book, but go back and read your Bible, there was a lot of research done to do this movie. Esther’s name was Hadessah before it was changed. Haman was an Agagite, which was from the descendants of King Agag—an Amalikite which Saul was suppose to destroy, and disobeyed God. Read I Samuel. You see this was a good film considering all the other trash out there. Furthermore, for those who criticized the character of Esther, I think she did an excellent job. She was very well played and very simple, but beautiful. I would give this film an “A,” considering the day and hour which we live in. It sure beats seeing other films that Hollywood feels the need to add trash to the movies. I think as with any film—Ten commandments, Ruth, etc.—there is not a better author, perfector or finisher of our faith, but God himself.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 3
—Trisha DeVelis, age 42
Positive—I really enjoyed the movie. The story of Esther is very accurately portrayed and encourages a person to stand up for their beliefs and have the boldness to step out in faith towards their destiny. It is a must see for all you are awaiting their purpose in life.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Crugs, age 45
Positive—This was a wonderful movie! This is one to see again and again and own. I was extremely impressed with every aspect of it: the acting, storytelling, music, scenery, costumes, special effects—all excellent. I am praying this will be a blockbuster. We need a lot more movies with this quality of excellence.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Kathy Rasmussen, age 59
Positive—Finally! A Christian directed and produced film with the professional quality needed to make it at the box office. I really felt the acting was first-rate. If there was any complaint, it was that the screenplay itself sometimes lacked a genuine heart in its dialogue. Nevertheless, it was a moving film, and every family should see it. Who knows, but maybe this film is released for such a time as this… There is no objectionable content.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—PJ, age 43
Positive—…I absolutely loved it. Casting, acting, script and costuming were superb. There were elements of the movie that were added for drama’s sake, but it is to be expected, and none of it detracted from the movie. Some parts were summarized in ways that those not too familiar with the story might be confused slightly at, i.e., Mordechai tearing his clothes and being in the streets as part of the fasting and praying. There is much teaching about wisdom, hearing the voice of God, obedience, and all that can be achieved when you are one with God’s destiny on your life.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Carey, age 20
Positive—This movie is absolutely amazing. I believe that it is action-packed, keeping you on the edge of your seat in parts of the movie. Then in other parts you will be in tears. This is truly a love story, but you can most definitely see the hand of God in this movie. This is absolutely a family-friendly movie.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Michael Luty, age 22
Positive—This Movie is Great! …This movie is full of Scriptures. I encourage all to see it. I think that it’s something that all people, Christian and non-Christian, can enjoy and see as quality entertainment. I know what has gone on behind the scenes to make this movie happen, and it is definitely ordained by God! It explains the story of Esther in such a way as to entertain and keep one on the edge of their seat. Definitely a MUST SEE!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—David Lambert, age 18
Positive—Until now, most Christian movies that I have seen in the past aren’t Hollywood-grade. “One Night With The King” is making a complete u-turn in the movie mission field. The quality and visual effects will attract the lost, while the scripturally-filled dialogue will keep the church on the edge of their seat. I highly recommend everyone to bring a lost friend to the movie and watch how God is going to impact the next generation!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Chad Cummins, age 29
Positive—…one of the best movies I have ever seen. The movie was shot in some of the palaces in India, and the scenes are absolutely amazing. The actors are awesome together. This movie will challenge yourself to be who you were created to be. This film will push you to overcome your fears and make you curious for what your future holds. This film is a picture of one’s self and what you can do to improve yourself. This movie will shake your thinking of how you see circumstances and allow you to see how circumstances can push you into your destiny and not hold you back. The movie is a must see for the entire family!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Lucas M, age 19
Positive—…awesome. My eyes were glued to the screen, and I can’t wait till it comes out in the theatres.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Barrett, age 20
Positive—As a student of “Godchasers,” this film has really touched the heart and will likewise to all non-Christians and Christians, to see the makeup and character revealing Christ and His undying love for His people. Everything is great, from graphics, to actors, to the plot—that is easily and vividly seen in the book of Esther. I recommend ALL to go out and see this…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Shelly, age 20
Positive—This is one awesome movie! Great production and acting, and the whole of the story of Esther in the Bible is seen, with a few things added, but nothing taken away. I hope that when people see this movie they will be encouraged that no matter what place or situation they may be in, God has a purpose and destiny for such a time as this.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Ryan, age 29
Positive—I will give this movie an excellent review for I truly enjoyed myself!!! I will have to say it was a little too long for my 7 and 12 year old girls, for they had a hard time understanding what was going on. I did tell them what it was about, but for their age, it was a little over there head.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Mary, age 38
Positive—…one of the most powerful movies of the year. It is not your average Christian movie. It is a dynamic story where dreams come true! It is truly inspiring and uplifting. Once you’ve watched the movie you’ll be anxious to tell others about it! I highly recommend everyone go and see the movie, and enjoy the inspiring story of Esther!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—WVU Mountaineer, age 19
Positive—This is an excellent film. I hardly noticed the time go by while I watched it. The plot was easy to follow from beginning to end, and the musical scores adequately coincided with each moment throughout the story’s progression—so much so, that you often don’t notice that the music is there, even though it’s almost constantly present, evoking the appropriate moods. Since the audience must understand what each phase of the movie means within the context of previous scenes, it probably will not be a movie that children especially enjoy. However, even though kids prefer movies in which the scenes are generally stand-alone, self-explanatory, and very active, I still believe that all ages should go and enjoy this film. “One Night with the King” also contains a few moral lessons: one relates to the importance of personal relationship over performance to gain other’s approval, and another lesson concerns the treasure of individuality and displaying one’s own character instead of falling in line with the popular standard for acceptance. Overall, “One Night with the King” is a fantastic work of art.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—JP Smith, age 19
Positive—…an amazing movie for the whole family to watch! It’s not another cheesy Christian movie. It’s very encouraging and makes you feel like you can overcome anything! The music and graphics were awesome too! I will definitely be telling my friends and family to go see it!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Sarah Yoder, age 19
Positive—This movie was amazing. It really captured my attention and had my heart the whole way through the movie. It revealed the story of Esther in such a captivating way. I really recommend that everyone goes to see this movie when it comes out on Oct. 13th in theaters. You will all really enjoy this movie!!!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Brandi Davidson, age 21
Positive—…an awesome movie. It will keep you on the edge of your seat. The cast, production, and plot were all great. It is an inspiring movie that is appropriate and engaging for the whole family. The movie brings the Book of Esther alive and exemplifies the compassion and willpower of one of the Bible’s most loved heroines.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Melissa, age 19
Positive—While better than most independent Christian movies, “One Night With the King” isn’t as good as the original book of Esther. The truth really is more interesting than fiction, and some of the departures from scripture caused the story to drag (Esther’s blond love interest at the beginning) or lose some of its delicious irony (Haman’s suspicion that Queen Esther was a Jew). Also, some of the scenes confused me a little, even though I was already familiar with Esther’s story.

On the positive side, the sets and costumes were beautiful, the male and female leads were attractive, and the actors did the best they could with the (sometimes corny) script—I was especially impressed with the man who played Hegai. There is absolutely nothing in this film that would be inappropriate for young children, but it will bore most of them. It would probably make a great Christian date movie, though. The best thing about this film is that it made me want to reread the book of Esther. Any film that gets me to read a certain part of the Bible is okay with me.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 3
—Melissa E., age 25
Positive—I saw the movie over the weekend, and it has been in my mind ever since. Like your reviewer, I can’t wait for the DVD to come out because I must have it! This weekend I’m seeing it again. I thought Tiffany Dupont was perfect as Esther, and Luke Goss was great as the king. I would happily watch Omar Sharif recite the phone book, he is so wonderful. I loved the costumes, the scenery, the attention and pageantry. I hope this movie marks a trend in filmmaking. A reviewer on another site complained that there was no chemistry between Dupont and Goss. What movie was this person watching? They had amazing chemistry!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Kathy Chwedyk, age 57
Positive—This film illuminates the love that she has for her King and her people! The storyline, lighting, acting, and the set was by far the best Christian film I’ve ever seen! This movie will speak to you in so many levels, don’t miss it!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Johnny, age 19
Positive—Captivating from the very beginning scenes… puts the book of Esther in a whole new light and makes you want to go home and read it again! Wonderfully done movie, not another “cheesy” christian film. Packed with scriptures, full of values and morals, a great message for today’s society. I can’t wait to see this movie again!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Amanda, age 21
Positive—I was able to preview this movie and as a young person I thought it was incredible. The story itself is beautiful, but the movie really put into perspective how incredible this women, Esther, really was. I highly recommend this movie for young and all. It is A MUST SEE!!!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Elsie Bennett, age 19
Positive—…a must see movie! Its one of the most inspirational stories of the year. The movie will capture your heart as you watch the story of Esther unfold. This is a great movie for the entire family to enjoy. Don’t miss the opportunity to catch this movie in a theater near you!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Christian, age 19
Positive—…loved the movie. By watching the previews, it didn’t look like a movie I would sit in on, but I sat through it and loved every scene. The actors were extravagant in portraying the message of Christ. I would recommend this movie to all people of any background!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Brandi, age 19
Positive—…phenomenal! The setting, plot, actors and actresses and emotion of this film is intriguing and keeps your attention. It is most definitely a must see…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Amber, age 19
Positive—This is an amazing film. This film is a big step in the right direction for the Christian movie making industry. The film is made with excellence, it isn’t another cheesy Christian film. It’s a film for the whole family. This film will call you to see what God can do when you step into you destiny.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Lucas, age 19
Positive—This movie blew… ME AWAY!!!… I absolutely loved it. It is definitely worth the visit to the theater.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Amber Lynn, age 19
Positive—This movie is a must see! As a student at G.C.I.M.S., I recently had the awesome privilege of viewing “One Night with the King.” It is one of the greatest movies I’ve seen by far! This high quality, action-packed film will take you through an amazing journey in the life of a young girl named Esther and the heroic acts that followed her. This film is guaranteed to captured your heart, taking you through times of laughter, suspense and tears. …I encourage everyone to check it out. I guarantee you’ll love it!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Meagan B., age 18
Positive—This movie really took you deep into the life of Esther, and really shows you all she had to overcome to get where she knew she was destined to be. It is a story of an overcomer; it encouraged me greatly. It will affect anyone who watches it, as well as challenge them to do more than they ever thought they could achieve.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Caytie Burt, age 19
Positive—…an excellent movie to see. …an amazing movie for all ages. It will be a great movie for believers and non-believers alike. I loved this movie…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Aaron McCaskill, age 19
Positive—…it was one of the best Christian movies that could hit Hollywood and the World.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Dennis, age 32
Positive—Think about the intensity and quality of “The Passion of the Christ”—this movie was also researched, directed, and filmed with the highest standards of excellence and its impact is just as amazing. The history of Esther is a beautiful work of art for the kingdom of God and now everyone who has missed reading the story can discover the power of faith, courage and obedience through the film industry. God is reaching out to His people! Don’t miss this!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Kelsey, age 19
Positive—…The characters are developed so well, Tiffany Dupont makes an ideal Esther, and the use of color and lighting effects are especially impressive. I can hardly wait to see the whole movie. I’m telling everyone I know to go see it.
—Marilyn Brenden, age 57
Positive—This movie is the 2nd to “The Passion of The Christ” because it lifts up the glory of God throughout the movie. I will recommend this movie to families and friends that need the love of God in their life and His favour. This movie gives life to future christian films and allowing us to stand out from other Hollywood movies. There was no profanity or sexual conduct, so this enables us to realize that you don’t need …violence to catch the public eye. Viewers don’t need violence to satisfy their attention, they just need a positive movie that can motivate them in God’s eye not man!
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Tyronn Morrison, age 18
Positive—This movie is very good and positive for the youth and family. It had a lot to do with Bible, and it effects the human conscience of society. It presents the Word in a real way. I recommend that everybody goes to see this…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Tyronn, age 18
Positive—I thought this was one of, if not the best, film I have ever seen. I took my 12-year-old granddaughter. Not only was everything about the movie-making excellent, but it is of great influence and encouragement to young girls. My granddaughter came away wanting to “be like Esther”—a strong woman who stood for her values and who accepted God’s will. I could not say enough good things about this movie, and I highly recommend it.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Lynda, age 60
Positive—This movie was AWESOME!! You’ll just have to see it yourself to get a genuine opinion—and that will be your own!!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Lisa, age 20
Positive—…an amazing movie for the whole family to see! It’s the best movie of the year! A must see! It’s full of action, drama, romance, suspense, and mystery! It’s also very encouraging and uplifting, like you can overcome anything! I also learned a lot, too!…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Sarah Y, age 19
Positive—This movie is so awesome. I’m so glad Christians are trying to take over the film productions with positive motives and attitudes. “One Night with the King” is great and fun to watch with the family, friends, church, etc. You must read the book of Esther to know what’s going on. But I pray that this movie takes over Hollywood in Jesus name AMEN!!…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Tyrell, age 18
Positive—This movie was awesome. When I saw it I was amazed by the scenery and the acting. Everyone who was involved with this movie did an incredible job. The young girl who played Esther, Tiffany Dupont, did a great job portraying Queen Esther. I highly recommend this movie…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Rebekah, age 19
Positive—…it’s definitely one of the best movies I’ve seen by far! The high quality/action packed film takes you through an amazing journey in the life of a young girl named Esther and the heroic acts that follow her. As you watch, the film will capture your heart, taking you through times of suspense, laughter, and even tears. …It’s a must see that I would encourage everyone to check out!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Meagan Lynn, age 18
Positive—The movie is awesome!!!…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Dee, age 28
Positive—…it’s a wonderful opportunity for Christians to step into Hollywood moviemaking. This sets the bar, and we can only continue to produce better and better movies.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Mary M, age 21
Positive—“One Night with the King” was a nice break from all the rubbish the industry sends us. I was actually able to enjoy the movie without feeling like I needed a shower afterwards. We were able to take the whole family including my two younger sisters (10, 13). Yes, they did take numerous liberties, and if you’re a stickler for the movie being identical to the book (in this case the Esther of the bible and Hadassah by Tommy Tenny) then this movie is not for you. The movie made me want to go back and re-read the book of Esther. Imagine that, a movie making you want to read the Bible!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 3
—Sam, age 18
Positive—Delightful and uplifting. I found myself muttering “Praise the Lord” under my breath several times.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—David, age 36
Positive—I loved it—the sets and costumes were beautiful and the story was amazing. There were some artistic liberties taken, but they did not detract from the story. Esther is one of my favorite Bible characters, and I was excited that the book was made in to a movie. I’d recommend this movie to everyone, especially families with teenage girls. It is a great movie for families to see and then discuss. GREAT.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Carolyn, age 18
Positive—I really enjoyed the movie. It was historically correct with license for theater. The one thing that really threw me was creating a suspicion of the King against Esther. I did not understand the need for that, and it seemed to change from what I understand the book of Ester to say. From that point on I had a hard time with the movie. But, overall, it was a great movie and well done. Wonderful to be able to see God’s word come to life on the big screen.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Bonnie, age 43
Positive—Wonderful! Beautifully done, the movie captures the heart of the story of Esther. Those who love the King of Kings will be captivated. When Esther presents the King with her necklace and says—my past, my present and my future I give to you—it took my breath away. I went by myself this afternoon, this weekend I will be going again taking two daughters and 17 and 11-year-old granddaughters. I recommend this highly; please make more of this caliber.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Peggy Burgess, age 56
Positive—I have seen the movie twice already, and it was worth every penny. I recommend this movie to everyone I know. If God can raise up an orphan and make her queen of a people who want to eradicate her race, then He can use me! By the way, this movie is a great Faith Builder!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Chad, age 29
Positive—This movie was beautiful and romantic! Although being a Judeo-Christian film (and it will likely be snubbed by Hollywood), the costumes were breathtaking, and they should win many awards! I thought the acting overall was very good, and there were many familiar faces involved with this film. I hope the Lord blesses this and every film with a Judeo-Christian morality and we see more films like this. Help support this genre and get out there and buy a ticket.…
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Lisa, age 41
Positive—I have read the book of Esther several times. How wonderful to see it come to life in “One Night With The King.” The scenery and costumes were just wonderful! I liked how the backstory was shown at the beginning of the movie. I enjoyed seeing some famous older characters in the movie like Omar Sharif and Peter OToole. I plan to see it again with my daughter. I hope more movies like this come out in the future! God bless all those involved in this fine production and performance.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Susan Pedroza, age 51
Positive—I thank God for this film. At first I was hesitant about going out to the movies with my friends, but I’m glad I did. The movie was encouraging and for the most part, biblically correct. The movie was wonderful and the best film I have seen in a long time. The movie made me want to rejoice in the theatre. I can’t wait until it comes out on DVD. I thank God for Jesus setting people free.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Sarah, age 21
Positive—I loved the film. It was beautifully portrayed and filmed. I highly recommend it.…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Elaine Hardt, age 70
Positive—I have read some of the negative, positive and neutral comments. I found that the neutral could have well been negative. I say to the negative and neutral comments to, “loosen up.” Yahweh can use anything and anyone HE chooses to reach the masses. So stop complaining and contribute to it’s success, and by it we’ll all be blessed.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Dejoie Poellnitz, age 51
Positive—I find this film of Esther’s story was enchanting and captivating. I fell in love with it. I’ve heard people say that all they were seeing was just a romance. What they fail to see is, it was indeed a romance. If Esther had not captured the King’s heart, she wouldn’t have been able to save her people from death. That was Esther’s calling. The love relationship between Esther and the King is Vital to make this story real. Just like the love relationship between us and Jesus. That is the only way we could be saved is the love of the Father.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Jillian, age 18
Neutral
Neutral—As films go, this was beautiful, and obviously shot/designed with great care. I’m thrilled to see a “Christian” film of such high quality visually. I, however, was disappointed with the story, which should have been the most amazing part! Esther is such an inspirational story, a personal favorite, and Hadassah: One Night With the King only added to that. The story presented in this movie was only loosely based on those two sources, and more often than not, twisted the truth into campy, dramatic scenes in an attempt to drum up conflict. As a result, the story didn’t have nearly the impact on me that a more concise telling of Esther’s story would have. In Tommy Tenney’s version, upon which this was partially based, Esther delights in learning about her king, in discovering all she can in order to please him. She also learns about God’s faithfulness to her even when in uncertain circumstances. These two elements were barely touched upon in the film, yet were a huge part of the book.

In addition to that, the intrigue that made the book so compelling was missing. I appreciated the fact that some backstory was included, albeit briefly, but the conflict involving Haman seemed separate from the rest of the film until the very end. Personally, I would have liked to see more screentime devoted to the conflict between Haman and Mordecai/Esther/Xerxes, rather than the lame, and totally unfounded lover’s spats the king and queen kept having. I know that conflict was designed to heighten Esther’s reluctance to appear unsummoned before the King, but that entire plotline fell flat, in my opinion. I guess I felt there were many scenes throughout the film that had little significance in the grand scheme of things, while other scenes that should have been included were not. And, as a filmmaker myself, I had such high hopes for this.

From a moral perspective, there was nothing offensive about the content, and other filmmakers could take a lesson from this in allowing violence, etc., to happen off-screen, while the audience fills in the blanks without actually seeing anything. For fans of the books, who are looking for the same themes to be expressed, I’m not sure I can recommend this as a “good” adaptation. For those of you who are just looking for wholesome entertainment for the family, this would be a great choice.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 3
—Marianella, age 24
Neutral—Read the scriptures, please! What good is a movie that changes a lot of what God says? Do what we did today. Read the book of Esther (only ten chapters). Then go see the movie, and you will not help it throughout the movie when out of your own mouth will come the word: “What?” Or: “Where did that come from?” Yes, please add all the historical extra-biblical fluff necessary to keep the movie from lasting 20 minutes, but please! Why totally change extremely important aspects of this story? A story straight from the heart of God to us, I might add? Distortion. I’ve seen many movies that are a lot better which accurately and truly reflect what’s in the Bible. The acting is plain infantile, too.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Jose F. Lopez Jr., age 37
Neutral—While I enjoyed the movie qualities of “One Night with the King,” I was left wanting in the end. I was waiting for Esther to explain to the king her kiss to Mordecai, and it was portrayed that Haman was suspicious of Esther the entire time, when in the Bible it says that Haman went home and bragged that Esther had invited him to a feast. Like it was one more feather in his cap of pride. I was waiting for him to get his just desserts, and what happened left me wanting. There were many confusing aspects in the film, like what about the childhood friend and then what???? He just disappeared, and the story that was started with him never finished. He could have been eliminated entirely. However, there were many cute, poignant moments with Esther and the Eunuch and the King and Mordecai. Some of the acting at times seemed unskilled, while other times I was blown away. It was like soup… in it you get a little of everything and a lot of everything. It left me confused, but I would recommend it, and probably will see it again. The scenery was awesome, the cinematography was breathtaking and so was the costuming.…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Deborah, age 48
Neutral—The movie is typical “Hollywood” style—beautiful people, beautiful clothing. The key to watching this movie is to be aware that it is not based on the Book of Esther, it is based on Tommy Tenney’s book Hadassah: One Night with the King, a work of historical fiction, based on The Book of Esther. Watch knowing you are not going to be seeing the Word of God opening before you, and don’t watch with children under pre-teen ages, there is a lot of sensuality. It is entertainment, not Christian education. Read the Scripture or a good commentary if you want the meat of the matter.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Kathleen George, age 45 (USA)
Neutral—I was a little disappointed with this movie. I received the book for Mother’s Day, and once I found time to read it, I couldn’t put it down. I was captivated by the story, so when I went to view the film I hoped it would be just as I read. However, it was not. The story line kept you wanting for more. I was disappointed the story of Hadassah’s childhood that was so detailed in the book was vaguely touched in the movie. Had the movie started out this way, it may have made more sense. Biblically the story was off. I would have thought they would have dwelled more with why Haman acted as he did. Scripture tells us that Esther had one night with the king. The movie showed she went to him twice. Once when she read to him and then when it was her turn. The book showed how she relied on God, and how she prayed thru the whole ordeal of being captured and then ultimately going before the king. The movie didn’t show much of that aspect at all. Another part of scripture that was missing was Esther had 2 private banquets for Haman before she told the truth. Once and then she told the king she would tell him what she wanted at the second banquet. The movie showed one banquet, however, I understand that they probably didn’t want the movie to drag, but if they wanted the movie to stay true to the bible, they failed. I would see it again, but I just think it could have followed the book that it was based from more than it did.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Karen, age 46
Neutral—The film from the beginning tends to have a television feel to it. From the opening narrative, to the acting ability, one never feels the overwhelming sense of such movies like “The Passion…”. As usual, the book, Esther, is always better than the movie. Granted, Tommy Tenney is a gifted writer, and the storyline tends to remain true, but the movie does not really generate any real emotional depth that helps us to connect. It is a blessing to watch a film that has no language, no gratuitous sex scenes or graphic violence. Course, one does cheer when Haman receives his just reward when he is hung on the gallows that he had built. I really believe such films as this encourages and awakens the world of “Hollywood” that these films are needed and are profitable. To spend money, makes money.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 3
—Phil Ward, age 41
Neutral—While I was impressed by the excellent cast and sets, giving one an idea of the fabulous splendor of the ancient Persian court, the movie is a clunker. First of all, it doesn’t stick to the Biblical account. Secondly, it introduces irrelevant items as the Greek war and democracy. Haman is made out to be a proto-Hitler, as if he wasn’t evil enough. They won’t even portray Haman begging for mercy from Esther, as is recounted in the Book Esther. Finally, Haman and his ten sons were all hung, and the Jews slew their enemies by the thousands. The street of Susa ran red with blood. They couldn’t show that of course. The word “God” never appears once in the Book of Esther. This is all recorded in the Book of Esther. I wish the filmmakers had simply stuck with the original story. They were too afraid of offending Christian sensibilities.
My Ratings: Average / 2
—Jorgen Goderstad, age 54
Negative
Negative—I cannot recommend this film. If you are expecting an epic film like “Laurence of Arabia” you will be sadly disappointed. The movie never really catches on, and I found little to no character development that made me feel for or believe in the characters. I have not walked out on a movie in the past 5 years, and I almost walked out in the middle of “One Night with the King.” Save your money or go see the new Robin Williams movie.…
My Ratings: Average / 2
—Thad, age 35
Negative—Why can’t Christian cinematography be at a standard of excellence: acting, script, drama? This film fell drastically short of excellence. The biblical story is both powerful and moving, where the film, with the unnecessary additions, paled in comparison. However, the film did portray the cost and risk that Esther faced. Her costumes were beautiful…
My Ratings: Average / 1
—Kim Porter, age 40
Negative—…I was disappointed with the film… After the movie, I was compelled to re-read the Book of Esther because there were too many elements of the movie that just did not ring true.The Esther portrayed in the movie was not indicative of the Esther depicted in the scriptures and the movie did little to fully develop the depth and strength of the leading characters, Esther, Mordecai and Xerxes. While I referred to my Bible to gain a handle on the story, most non-believers will not be as quick to do the same and if they did, how can the inconsistencies be explained to them, particularly if they already have “questions.” The scriptures state that we should not add or take away from the Word. This movie does that more than once. It pains me to say that I felt at times that I was watching a chaste but poorly written Harlequin romance. Beautiful cinematography, costumes and set but I would much rather have more emphasis on the message then on the scenery.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
—Latasha Drax, age 32
Negative—All right, I was excited to see this movie, hoping it would be good and well made. Well, I was disappointed; the script was straight out of a sappy romance novel version of the book, and, hey, the girl who played Esther was well kind of an airhead. I wanted to burst out in laughter every time she said something sentimental to the king, it was just really really bad. …then there was the symbol that Haman had, somehow I don’t think he carried around a swastika, wrong century people. I get were they might find it clever, but it wasn’t, just trite. I also couldn’t get the guy who played the Xerxes, what was that accent? English, Persian, what? I just couldn’t make it out really. And what is it with a blue-eyed Persian king?
My Ratings: Good / 1
—Sarah, age 18
Negative—One thought that was in my mind as soon as I saw the trailer for this was “please get this one right, without Hollywood elements” After going to see the film, I was sorely disappointed to see that this was not the Esther of the Bible account. Here are some examples: Mordecai’s involvement in the account was played back, and the most significant line that was spoken by him in the Bible was given to a fictional character instead. Giving Esther a fictional love interest aside from the king should have not been in this film at all. It did not happen! When it comes to her and the king’s relationship, the Bible account is less Romeo and Juliet. The star of David symbol pendant, that was unneeded. My history is not that good, but I don’t even think the Jews used that symbol for themselves until Israel was recognized a state thousands of years later. There is more I can’t think of at this moment, so I will end by saying I do not recommend this film for believers. Too many Hollywood embellishments, bad dialogue in some spots. Read the Bible account. It is much better.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Andrew Lopez, age 24
Negative—As a Christian, I believe I should support and promote Christian films, however, I don’t see how they will ever improve without constructive criticism. This film reminded me of Hollywood blockbusters that bombed because they were overblown productions with little substance or heart. The story of Esther is a great story, but you never really feel the impact of the story in this movie. You never get to know or like the characters, because there is too much going on around them to notice. And when you do get the chance to focus in on them, you notice how often they appear to be acting, especially the two main characters (while the veteran actors Omar Sharif and Peter O'Toole never give you the sense they are acting). I would have much preferred a movie like the low budget film “Rocky” that had great acting and was all heart. I walked out of “Rocky” feeling inspired, but I walked out of this movie feeling letdown and confused.
My Ratings: Average / 1
—Michael Plowman, age 47
Negative—I saw the movie, but it is not Biblically accurate, but most “Hollywood Type” movies are never Biblically accurate. They take too much “artistic liberties” to make them “more” or “so called” interesting. Well, because many people don’t ever (or very rarely) read the Bible anyway, they will never get the true story and be deceived unless they study. “Hollywood Type” movies put a vision in people’s heads, and they are really deceived and take it as scripture. Please, whoever reads this, I will tell you now to study, study, study the Bible before you take movies as scripture and tell your children, family and friends so they are not deceived.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
—Travis, age 22
Negative—We went to see this film mostly because of the many positive comments we read from viewers, but were very disappointed. Although there was nothing offensive in the movie, we found most of the acting mediocre, and the overall effect Hollywood-phony. It is not even close to being in the same league as “The Passion of the Christ.” Although the message of virtue did shine through in the joyful simplicity of the portrayal of Esther, unfortunately the mediocrity of the film in general wasn’t a worthy vehicle. We were bored and left after about ninety minutes.
My Ratings: Good / 2½
—Marilyn Jay, age 55
Comments from young people
Positive—…EXCELLENT movie! My mom and I went to see it and loved it! I would recommend it to basically anyone! I’m amazed this film came out of Hollywood! The only qualms some might have with it is that they took “artistic liberty,” but even that only in minor details. Definitely go see it!
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Stephanie Nill, age 14
Positive—This movie is awesome. It rocks. It gives girls positive ways to think and to stand up for your faith, but this movie is not only for girls, it’s for boys too. This movie is my favorite movie in the world, and Esther is my role model.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Elizabeth, age 13
Neutral—I read and loved the book, so I couldn’t wait to see the movie! But I was slightly disappointed. I found that the overall plot, actions, and attitudes strayed far from the book quite often. And I believe the story was a little different from even the biblical account (i.e. Haman’s attitude at Esther’s dinner). The movie was beautiful in costuming and music, and I am thrilled that a movie with this strong Christian message made it this far in Hollywood. However, my only warning is to the book lovers. If you were attached to that story, prepare yourself to love another one, too.
My Ratings: Good / 3
—Wesley, age 17
Positive—…an incredible film! I truly enjoyed it, and I would have to say that it is the best movie I have seen in a VERY LONG TIME!!! There is no immorality (except for a few kisses that weren’t too passionate), and there were wonderful Christian themes portrayed such as faith. This is an awesome film for all ages; kids, teens and adults alike will love it! The cast does an amazing job, and the scenery is lovely!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Susannah, age 14