Louise Lombard (CSI) stars as Hadassah, a young woman who is rounded up with all the other local virgins so that King Ahaseurus of Persia can choose a new queen. This doesn’t work like Cinderella; the women are trained for a year in the art of pleasing the king and then they spend a night with him. After he samples them it’s off to the concubine department, where the ex-virgins spend their lives, hoping the king will call for them a second time. Hadassah, on the advice of her cousin Mordecai (F. Murray Abraham) assumes the name Esther and pretends she is not a Jew.
King Ahaseurus (Thomas Kretschmann) is a numbskull, at least in this film. His former queen was dethroned because she refused to drop by a party he was having; he ordered her to appear before his friends in her royal get-up and she refused. Since the party had been going on for a good six months, it would be safe to assume the king and his pals have imbibed a little too much wine. His friends and advisors tell him he’s got to do something big or he will look like a fool and all wives will disrespect their husbands. The chump falls for it, waking up the next day calling for Vashti, who is now history. Hence the virgin round-up. He was desolate at the loss of his Queen whom he could not reinstate, but when one of his buddies suggests the parade of virgins, he perks right up. After a night with Esther he has found the love of his life, his new queen. Being queen, by the way, is no bed of roses. She can not approach her husband unless he sends for her; to do so would be penalized by death. She can not, unaccompanied, speak to a man—penalty, death.
Conflict in the story is provided by Haman (Jurgen Prochnow) who is so incensed that Mordecai will not bow down to him he decides to kill all the Jews. Mordecai will not bow to anyone but God, and he won’t budge on the subject. The Bible Stories: Esther is punctuated with political posturing and intrigues as a variety of characters jockey for power. To this end, Haman manages to first put himself in a humiliating situation and then brings about his own destruction, all the while being egged on by his battle-axe wife.