Film Review: ‘The Dovekeepers’

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman (book 2011, film 2015)

This was really good. It had all the elements I like about a movie: intrigue, personal relationships, action. And it wasn’t overly religious, if that’s possible when discussing Rome’s need for world domination. Or that time period in history.

The journey of three women (four, according to the book and film descriptions) is chronicled following the siege of Masada when the two surviving women, Shivah and Yael, are taken into Roman custody and their story is told to the historian Josephus.

There is a lot of adultery and scheming in this story. For instance, Shivah falls in love with a married bandit and is cast out of Jerusalem – pregnant, only to be reunited with him in Masada. Of course, that’s after she leaves their village with her first daughter (Aziza, raised as a boy) and the son she had with another man. Yael, the unwanted daughter of another family, gets pregnant on the road to Masada by a married man. I told you there was intrigue. Aziza has an intense love affair with Amram, Yael’s brother, only to discover his assassin-bandit ways are too much for her.

In the end, at the siege of Masada, the leader of the assassin-bandits orders a mass murder-suicide of the people. It’s either die at their own hands, or those of the Romans. The only survivors are Shivah, her son and another unborn child, Yael and her infant.

While I don’t doubt Roma Downey’s ability to translate book to film, I think I’m going to read the book at some point. Alice Hoffman writes beautifully. I also think I’m going to rewatch the film while it’s still available on demand. I may have missed something.

I liked it.

Do I recommend it? Yes…only if you’re in it for the entertainment value.

I see a lot of reviews having fits over lack of Jewish cast members, deviation from historical accounts, etc. People should realize it was a made-for-TV book adaptation

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