One Night with the King is a film based on the novel by Tommy Tenney, Hadassah: One Night with the King. The film is set in Susa, Persia, which is now present day Iran and was produced in 2006. Filmed in the city of Rajasthan, India, the movie follows the life of Hadassah, the main protagonist who is a Jewish orphan that wants to return to her holy land, Jerusalem, with her friend Jesse. However within Hadassah’s home city Susa, there are uprisings waiting to occur. The king of Susa, Xerxes, is planning on going to war to avenge his father’s death. Before going to war, he holds a great feast for all his people to attend and to have one glorious meal before the battle. His wife the queen of Susa, Vashti, does not agree with Xerxes plans and is against the war. To protest King Xerxes, Queen Vashti throws her own feast; she also tries to advise King Xerxes to focus on the uplifting of the kingdom instead of killing in the name of his father. Though Queen Vashti has organized her own protest, King Xerxes still invites her to his feast, but she refuses to come. She objects his feast, his level of drunkenness and his decisions to war that he has made with his untrustworthy war council. As a response to her questioning of the King’s word, the war council advises the King to banish her and find a new queen that will not object his rule.
Hadassah camouflages herself under the name Ester and is successfully selected to be a potential queen of the king. Though she is hiding her true identity, her personality shines through. Ester/Hadassah’s great beauty and personality makes her the favorite and eventually she wins over the heart of the kind and is made queen. Later, she finds out of a plan by Haman—who is on the king’s council—and he is attempting to seek out revenge against Mordecai and all Jews. Though it is against customs, Ester/Hadassah goes before the king without being summoned, risking her life in order to save her people. Ester reveals who she really is and tells of Haman’s plan to kill all Jews and is assaulted by Haman as a result. However, the king saves her and demands that Haman is hung in the gallows. The movie ends with Mordecai, a Jew, being made prince of Persia and Ester—now being able to go by Hadassah—is praise as a wonderful queen who saved her people.
The revolution that is depicted within this movie is the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The goal of the revolution was to overthrow the Pahlavi dynasty—which is the dynasty in which was being illustrated in the movie—and to get rid of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, ruler of the dynasty at the time. Many Iranian disliked Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and felt it necessary to perform a violent overthrow of the government. What this revolution revealed was an illustration of how other Islamic countries could, too, fight against modernization. Additionally, such as what was portrayed in the movie, people should not be ashamed of their culture or identity. Hadassah hid who she truly was because she knew that she would not be able to even be considered as queen, let alone save Mordecai and the Jews. Hadassah is the epitome of courage and strength, going as far as to risk her own life in order to save others. She not only fought against modernization—which was one of the reasons behind Iranian Revolution—but fought the negativity that was behind her nationality, her identity and her family. With its biblical references, the movie showed how God used Hadassah—a Jewish orphan—in order to prevent the extermination of al Jews. The movie illustrates a story of inspiration and spirituality. However, though it is very uplifting, the movie also shows the violence that occurred during the Iranian revolution. The hangings and stabbings that were secretly put into the movie show how great sacrifices and tragedies had to occur in order for the ultimate good to be accomplished.