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The Prince of Egypt

Why did they let us watch this in elementary school??


Release date: December 16, 1998
Director: Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner, Simon Wells
Language: English

Who should watch this movie: Curious gentiles. Jews in their 20s. Musical enthusiasts.

When should you watch this movie: During Passover, when you can’t go home for seder.

The sell: The Prince of Egypt is everything The Ten Commandments wishes it was: Dramatic, but heartfelt. Epic, but human. A musical starring Ralph Feinnes and Sandra Bullock. This animated retelling of the exodus transcends the average Bible adaptation and lodges itself firmly in the pantheon of ancient stories beautifully told. What is often rendered as a broad strokes parable of God’s wrath, is given nuance and emotional depth without sacrificing scale or gravity. The animation is stunning, with as much meticulous attention payed to the sweeping landscapes as to the facial expression of each character. We see not only Moses grappling with his duty and his abiding love for his brother turned enemy, but also the anxious uncertainty of the hebrews, the insecure arrogance of Rameses, and the pained confusion of the Egyptian masses. The musical numbers are memorable, and successfully communicate these sometimes competing psychologies while simultaneously driving the story forward. Also, every song is a certified banger. This movie is intense but deeply satisfying, even after repeated viewings. It is, however, NOT a kids movie, why do they keep showing this in Hebrew school to 8 year olds??

Bonus: There are some truly excellent midrashim about the exodus, my favorite being the one about Nachshon – The guy who, upon reaching the red sea said “fuck it I guess we’re swimming” and jumped in before Moses parted the water. Look it up.


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