Movie Title: Megillas Lester
Director: CJ Kramer
Writers: Malka Josephs (script editor), CJ Kramer (written by), Kayla Rabinowich (script editor)
Primary Actors (stars): Michael Bihovsky, Noah Bird, Jeanne Intile Burns
Date released: March 3, 2014
Genre: Animation
Duration: 1h 5min
Reviewer: Arielle Blackburn
Review date: March 10, 2014

If you celebrate Purim, the next major Jewish holiday, you might like Megillas Lester, a new, animated feature from Kolrom studios. As might be inferred, the movie is a departure from the book of Esther from which Purim is based. In fact, Queen Esther never materializes throughout the course of the film. Instead, the narrative focuses on Doniel Lesterovich or “Lester,” a young boy who attends yeshiva in an area like Cleveland. Some degree of Jewish background, including light Hebrew reading ability and a bit of Yiddish vocabulary will boost viewers’ enjoyment of Megillas Lester; still, it has a positive, biblical message of trusting God to work out human struggles, which any viewer could understand.

Spoiler alert: Lester is entrusted with devising a new Purim play for his school. Amidst his scheming, Lester is transported into the Purim story, where he accidentally uses his knowledge to alter the outcome of its events, not unlike Back to the Future. Thankfully, unlike McFly, Lester seeks out the sage wisdom of Mordechai to help right the situation. Mordechai counsels Lester to daven (pray) and trust God to take care of the situation. At first, Lester continues to struggle to smooth out his well-intentioned blunders, failing each time. Ultimately Lester is forced to rely on God to fix everything, which is depicted in the number “Upside Down” where all the characters sing out their struggles. Of everyone involved, Lester alone turns to God to fix what’s beyond his control. He allows God to work things out for the good of all the characters, except Vashti and Haman, but that’s probably a given in any version of the Purim story.

Granted, the movie is meant for children, but there were two possible contentions for parents. Firstly, showing drunkenness in Shushan was jarring, as most kids’ videos don’t normally depict alcohol abuse. Secondly, the emphasis on Haman’s evilness was over-the-top. He demonizes himself (quite literally) in an unapologetically passionate scene not unlike Scar’s “Be Prepared” from The Lion King.

On a spiritual level, Megillas Lester promotes the idea of God putting us in the right place at the right time to fulfil our unique purposes. It supports His omnipotence and our needing to seek Him for direction and control over our lives. This writer couldn’t agree more. In the original Purim story, Queen Esther’s presence and righteousness in the king’s palace was the key to God using her to save His people. If God had not ordained her to save Israel, God’s promise to Abraham that his seed would prosper and that the messiah would come through him would have been broken. God is in the business of keeping His promises. We are grateful for that and that He brought messiah into the world at the perfect time to fulfil his role in saving all of us who accept him–the Jewish people and the nations–from living, and dying, apart from God.

If you are curious to know more about Purim from a messianic perspective, we would love for you to join us in live chat.

We pray that any struggles you might currently face you would bring to God, letting Him take over and reverse sticky situations which can be common when trying to solve problems that overwhelm us.